Woman charged with animal cruelty for care of horses for the 4th time

Cohoctah Township, Mich (WXYZ) - Several horse rescue groups say they're tired of repeatedly having to rescue animals from the same  woman's home.  Now that they have been called to her house again, they are hoping she doesn't get them back.

7 Action News cameras were rolling in November of 2012 as Livingston County Animal Control workers took 12 horses from a farm in Cohoctah Township.

Investigators said they found the horses had no food or water. The owner said that wasn't true, and she would get the animals back. Jean Wainscott spoke from experience.  It was the third time she had been charged with animal cruelty.

She was right. Months later, she got the horses back. 

This week, a stallion was found dead, and once again her horses taken from her home. Wainscott is charged with animal cruelty. We asked her why this keeps happening.

"These so called rescue groups that need money," said Wainscott, insisting she is a victim of a conspiracy between rescue groups, animal control, and the prosecutor's office.

But Lisa Ponke, a member of one of those rescue groups, has a different take.

"I am so angry at our justice system. Our laws need to be stronger," said Ponke.

She says animal abuse needs to be taken seriously by investigators, prosecutors, and judges.

Ponke cared for some of Wainscott's horses after they were seized in 2012 at her Day Dream Farms Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation . She says she does her work to help animals.  She says a vet wrote a letter to the judge on the Wainscot case saying they were in need of better care than Wainscott provided. Still, Wainscott got the horse back.

The reason the horses have been given back is that Wainscott was never convicted. In one case, she accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to a lesser charge of letting her horses run loose.

Wainscott says she will fight to get her animals back again. She says she already has a letter from a vet saying she cared for them. 

Livingston County Animal Control will present evidence to the contrary. They say they are looking into whether one horse died because it didn't get needed care. Tests are being done to determine that. Investigators have at times witnessed the horses going without food or water.

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