Duke was "rescued" by Aron Jacques in November 2013 from animal control. He was dead within months.
A California horse trainer, accused of starving horses to death, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of animal cruelty on Monday.
Aron Jacques, of Santa Clarita, is charged with four felony counts of cruelty to an animal and five misdemeanor counts of failure to care for an animal. The prosecution alleges two horses died and two were euthanized due to the defendant’s negligent care.
Jacques appeared with new representation from the public defender’s office during the court preceeding. She was formerly represented by Leslie Ann Boyce, Esq. When asked, Boyce would not discuss with Rate My Horse PRO why she was no longer representing Jacques.
Authorities began investigating the hunter/jumper trainer and purported horse rescuer in early 2014. In February, five emaciated horses were seized from a Leona Valley farm that Jacques operated. Three of the horses “adopted” by Jacques months prior were seized by the agency for the second time. One died after being seized. A fourth horse Jacques adopted was dead when animal control arrived. A necropsy was not performed.
Jacques is scheduled to be back in court on January 13, 2015 for a preliminary hearing. If Jacques is found guilty, she faces a maximum penalty of up to seven and a half years in prison.