Woman accused of cruelty to animals pleads not guilty

Published 11:01 am Sunday, December 8, 2013

A former Oakland woman charged in Freeborn County District Court in March with mistreating horses has pleaded not guilty.

Theresa Lynn Halsey, 60, of Austin, entered the plea Thursday and invoked her Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.

Court documents allege Halsey deprived three horses and a miniature horse of food and shelter.

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Reports state a Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office deputy and a representative from the Freeborn County Humane Society seized three of the horses from her former address at the 23900 block of 885th Ave. in rural Oakland in January after deputies received a report of alleged neglect. The fourth horse had died the night before.

Court documents allege the horse that died was emaciated, with hips and shoulders protruding. The report alleges there were hay and a small bag of protein mix with a pail of weight gain at the property, but there were no oats, corn or barley. The report also alleges the open water tank for the horses was covered in algae and the ground was covered in feces.

Halsey said in a prior interview with the Tribune that she was shocked by the charges that allege she deprived the horses of food and shelter.

She hopes her name can be cleared.

Halsey said she and her husband had owned the horse that died for about seven years. Each winter it would lose weight and then regain it in the summer.

The day the horse died, she said, he had fallen on the ground with his front legs on one side of a post and his back legs on the other side of the post. He was unable to stand up because he was so weak, and while trying to stand up he rubbed his body against the post, creating a wound.

Halsey said the struggle of not being able to get up, combined with the horse’s weight and age, contributed to his death.

Halsey was arrested in November on a warrant for failing to appear for her initial court hearing on the charges.

The date for her next hearing has not yet been set.