Equine Law Matter - Closed - Get Information, Read Court Documents

DAVID GEE, as Sheriff of Hillsborough County, Florida, Petitioner, v. SHAWN JAYROE d/b/a RVR HORSE RESCUE, INC., Respondent.

Hillsborough County

No. 14-009306

PETITION – NEGLECTED. DISTRESSED AND MISTREATED ANIMALS
(Florida Statutes section 828.073)

COMES NOW, Petitioner, David Gee, as Sheriff of Hillsborough County, Florida
(“HCSO”), by and through the undersigned Detective and Legal Counsel, files this Petition –
Neglected, Distressed and Mistreated Animals (“Petition”) and states as follows:

I. This is an action under Florida Statutes section 828.073 seeking: (I) custody of
Respondent’s animals/horses found neglected, distressed, mistreated and cruelly
treated in Hillsborough County, Florida; (2) to enjoin Respondent from further

ownership, possession or custody of any animals in Hillsborough County Florida;
and (3) require Respondent to pay HCSO for the care of Respondent’s
animals/horses while in the custody of HCSO and HCSO’s investigative costs.

2. HCSO has complied with the time limitations and notice requirements contained
in Florida Statutes sections 828.073(2) and (3). See§ 828.073(2) & (3), Fla. Stat.
(2013).

3. The animals/horses at issue in this Petition are one (1) bay colored mare/female
horse named “Valentine” and one (1) black and white colored mare/female horse
named “Flower.”

4. Jurisdiction is in this County Court pursuant to Florida Statutes section
828.073(2)(b ), as Valentine and Flower were located by the undersigned Detective
at 12611 Hayes Clan Road, Riverview, Hillsborough County, Florida. Respondent
operates a horse rescue facility at this location.

5. Respondent is the current owner of Valentine and Flower, as defined by Florida
Statutes section 828.13(1)(b). See §828.13(1)(b), Fla. Stat. (2013), and pursuant to
an Indemnity Agreement and Release dated February 4, 2014, a copy of which is

attached hereto as Exhibit “A.”

6. On or about January 26, 2014, HCSO delivered Valentine and Flower to RVR
Horse Rescue, Inc. in anticipation of donating Valentine and Flower to them,
pending entry by this Court of a Stipulated Order Re: Donation of Horses in Lieu
of Sale. Following this Court’s entry of said Order on January 31, 2014, Shawn
Jayroe, owner, and president of RVR Horse Rescue, Inc. executed an Indemnity
Agreement and Release on February 4, 2014, accepting donation of Valentine and

Flower to them by HCSO. See Exhibit “A”. At the time Valentine and Flower
were delivered to RVR Horse Rescue, Detective Davis advised Kitrina Kelly of
RVR Horse Rescue that Valentine and Flower were under Dr. Mark Mayo’s care.
Detective Davis specifically advised Ms. Kelly of Dr. Mayo’s feed recommendations

and that the veterinarian at University of Florida Veterinary
Hospital recommended that Flower return to them for follow up ultrasound and
radiograph (x-ray) of her lungs.

7. On or about April 2, 2014, sixty-five (65) days later, HCSO Sergeant Edward
Raburn and HCSO Master Detective Troy Davis took physical custody of
Valentine and Flower at the aforementioned location, pursuant to Florida Statutes
section 828.073(2)(a). See § 828.073(2)(a), Fla. Stat. (2013).

8. Custody of Valentine and Flower was taken due to the following circumstances:

(a.) When Detective Davis went to RVR Horse Rescue on April 2, 2014, to
follow-up on the horses, he found Valentine and Flower to still be extremely
skinny, grossly underweight and malnourished. Being familiar with the horses
and their ability to gain weight when properly fed, and knowing Dr. Mayo’s prior
opinion that the horses should gain approximately one (I) pound per day if
properly fed, Detective Davis had an immediate concern for the welfare of both
horses. Detective Davis then weighed the horses with a weight tape; spoke with
RVR Horse Rescue’s veterinarians at the Surgi-Care Center for Horses
concerning the feeding recommendations; and he spoke with members of
Horse Rescue about what they had actually been feeding the horses. Detective
Davis determined that members of Horse Rescue had not been feeding the
horses according to the recommendations of Dr. Mayo or the RVR Horse Rescue’s

veterinarians at Surgi-Care. Therefore, Detective Davis and Sergeant
Raburn seized both horses that same day.

(b.) Detective Davis thereafter continued his follow-up investigation which
included: speaking to numerous members and volunteers ofRVR Horse Rescue;
speaking with veterinarian Dr. Mayo, veterinarians from the University of Florida
and RVR Horse Rescue’s own veterinarians from the Surgi-Care Center for
Horses; obtaining all of the medical records for both horses from all of the
veterinarians; having Dr. Mayo provide a thorough examination of both Valentine
and Flower, and taking Valentine and Flower to the University of Florida in
Gainesville for another thorough examination.

(c.) In sum, based upon Detective Davis’ investigation thus far, both horses

were not being fed by RVR Horse Rescue according to the feed schedule
suggested by Dr. Mayo or the veterinarians at Surgi-Care; Valentine gained little
to no weight; Flower’s weight fluctuated up and down but, at one point, she lost
approximately fifty (50) pounds; and RVR Horse Rescue did not provide all of the
recommended and necessary medical care for the horses.

(d.) More specifically, on April 3, 2014, Sergeant Raburn and Detective Davis
met Dr. Mayo at HCSO’s Impound Lot and stables. Dr. Mayo examined
Valentine and Flower and determined that they were still grossly underweight and
malnourished due to poor nutrition. Dr. Mayo advised Sergeant Raburn and
Detective Davis that the horses simply needed to eat. Dr. Mayo pulled blood on
Valentine and Flower. The results of Valentine’s blood work showed that she had

no abnormalities. Dr. Mayo advised that there is no reason why Valentine should
not have gained more weight while in RVR Horse Rescue’s care, other than she
was not being fed enough. The results of Flower’s blood work showed that she
had mild anemia. Dr. Mayo advised that this should be helped by a good
nutritional program, which is important due to her medical history. Dr. Mayo also
recommended that Flower’s teeth be floated. Copies of Dr. Mayo’s April 3, 2014
record and lab reports are attached hereto as Exhibit “B.”

(e.) On April 5, 2014, Surgi-Care provided Detective Davis with records on
Valentine and Flower, copies of which are attached hereto as Exhibit “C.”

1. There was only one medical record related to Valentine. SurgiCare’s
medical record dated January 28, 2014, authored by veterinarian Dr.
Michelle Twilla indicated that Valentine weighed approximately 700 pounds, per
a weight tape. It is very important to note that when Detective Davis weighed
Valentine with a weight tape on April 2, 2014, she only weighed 696 pounds. Dr.
Twilla recommended that Valentine be given Banamine; that her temperature be
monitored since she had a fever; that she be given a cold water bath and be placed
in a stall out of the sun; and that her teeth be floated in two to four weeks. Dr.
Twilla recommended that Valentine be fed copious amounts of alfalfa hay, and,
eventually, she also be fed Senior feed, starting with one measuring cup twice per
day. However, when Detective Davis was shown Valentine’s feed bucket on
April 2, 2014 (see Exhibit “E”) and was told by Erin Baxter at RVR Horse
Rescue (one of the volunteers responsible for feeding Valentine) what she was

being fed, he learned that she was only getting half a cup of Senior feed (not one
cup), twice per day and half a cup of Sweetina feed twice per day (not
recommended), plus coastal hay (not alfalfa hay) which contradicts Dr. Twilla’s
feeding recommendations. As stated above, Surgi -Care had no other records for
Valentine, which indicates that Valentine did not have her teeth floated.

2. There were three (3) medical records related to Flower dated
January 28, 2014; March 4, 2014; and March 19,2014.

(a.) On January 28, 2014, according to Dr. Twilla, Flower
weighed approximately 600 pounds, per a weight tape. It is again very important
to note that when Detective Davis weighed Flower with a weight tape on April 2,
2014 she weighed only 617 pounds. Dr. Twilla recommended that Flower’s
temperature be monitored; that she have a recheck examination in one week or

sooner; that a CBC be considered to evaluate for residual signs of infection; and
that Flower’s teeth be floated in two to three weeks. Dr. Twilla recommended that
Flower be fed copious amounts of alfalfa hay, and, eventually, that she be fed
Senior feed, starting with one measuring cup twice per day. When Detective
Davis was shown Flower’s feed bucket on April 2, 2014 (see Exhibit “E”) and
told by Erin Baxter at RVR Horse Rescue (one of the volunteers responsible for
feeding Flower) what Flower was being fed, he learned that she was only getting
half a cup of Senior feed (not one cup), twice per day and half a cup of Sweetina
feed twice per day (not recommended), plus coastal hay (not alfalfa hay), which
contradicts Dr. Twilla’s feeding recommendations. Moreover, Despite Dr.

Twilla’s recommendation that Flower be rechecked in one week or less, she was
not seen again until March 4, 2014-thirty-five (35) days later.

(b.) On March 4, 2014, Flower still had a fever. Dr. Twilla
noted that the sun was strong on the side of the barn where Flower was being kept
and that she still had a long, shaggy coat. A CBC was pulled. Flower was given
Banamine. Dr. Twilla recommended that Flower’s temperature be monitored, that
she be kept stalled in a cool place, that she get a cold water bath as needed, that
she be offered a mash, and that she be given Metamucil once per month. Dr.
Twilla requested that Flower have a recheck thoracic ultrasound and radiographs
performed at the clinic. Dr. Twilla recommended that Flower be body clipped.

(c.) On March 19,2014, Dr. Ruth-Anne Richter of Surgi-Care
evaluated Flower. According to Dr. Richter, Flower weighed approximately 644
pounds, per a digital scale .. Please note that when Flower was weighed on a
digital scale at the University of Florida on April 7, 2014 she weighed only 594
pounds. Therefore, Flower lost 50 pounds. Dr. Richter noted that Flower still had
a shaggy hair coat which indicates that she was not body clipped as Dr. Twilla
recommended on March 4, 2014. Dr. Richter recommended that Flower, due to
affected lung tissue resulting from the pneumonia, be treated in the hospital with
intravenous antibiotics, or, in the alternative, that she be given long term oral
antibiotics. Dr. Richter recommended anti-inflammatory therapy and diagnostic
blood work and strongly recommended that a fecal float be done to check for
parasites. Flower had not been seen by Surgi-Care since March 19,2014, which

indicates that Dr. Twilla’s and Dr. Richter’s recommendations were not followed.
Flower was not placed in the hospital to receive intravenous antibiotics, nor was
she given oral antibiotics as an alternative. Additionally, Flower’s teeth were not
floated, she did not have the anti-inflammatory therapy done, she did not have the
diagnostic blood work done, she did not have a fecal float done, and, as reflected
in the April2, 2014 photographs (see Exhibit “E”), she still had a long, shaggy
hair coat which means she was not body clipped. On April 2, 20 14, Sergeant
Raburn and Detective Davis asked Lisa Gold, RVR Horse Rescue’s Medical
Director, to show them what medication Flower was on (see above
recommendations), but she had nothing to show them.

(f.) On April 7, 2014, Sergeant Raburn and Detective Davis transported
Valentine and Flower to the University of Florida Veterinary Hospital for
evaluation. Dr. Martha Mallicote examined Valentine and Flower and determined
that both horses were malnourished due to lack of feed and appropriate nutrition.
Copies of records for Valentine and Flower from the University of Florida
Veterinary Hospital are attached hereto as Exhibit “D.”

1. On April 7, 2014, Flower was weighed using a digital scale
and she weighed 594 pounds. When Flower was discharged from the University
of Florida Veterinary Hospital back on December 26, 2013, she weighed 572
pounds, per their digital scale. This means that Flower only gained 22 pounds in
102 days. Please note that while being fed according to Dr. Mayo’s instructions
from December 26, 2013 through January 26,2014, Flower gained approximately

one (I) pound per day or approximately 20 pounds. Flower was under R VR Horse
Rescue’s care for 65 days, from January 26,2014 through April2, 2014.
According to both Dr. Mayo and Dr. MaJlicote, if Flower had been fed adequately
and properly, she should have gained between one (I) and three (3) pounds per
day. Dr. Mallicote stated that Flower’s failure to thrive is due to a lack of
appropriate nutrition rather than her remaining lung abnormalities. Dr. Mallicote
recommended that Flower’s teeth be floated. Dr. Mallicote recommended that
Flower be fed eight (8) to I 0 pounds of good quality hay such as alfalfa and
timothy or orchard grass, and one and a haJf (1.5) pounds of feed per day.

2. On April 7, 2014, Valentine was weighed for the first time
using a digital scale and she weighed 673 pounds. Please note that when Valentine
was weighed with a weight tape by Detective Davis on January 14, 2014, she
weighed approximately 696 pounds. Also please note that there is about a 25
pound difference between the weight tape and the digital scale – the weight tape is
25 pounds “heavier” than the scale. When she was weighed by Dr. Twilla at
Surgi-Care using a weight tape on January 28, 2014, she weighed approximately
700 pounds. When she was weighed by Detective Davis on April 2, 2014 using a
weight tape, she weighed approximately 696 pounds. This means that Valentine
did not gain any weight while in RVR Horse Rescue’s care. Dr. Mallicote stated
that there are no medical reasons for Valentine to be thin other than lack of feed.
Dr. Mallicote recommended that Valentine be fed good quality alfalfa and grass
hays, that she have access to grass and that she be fed Equine Senior or another

complete feed.

(g.) On April 9, 2014, Sergeant Raburn and Detective Davis met with Surgi-Care
veterinarian, Dr. K. Leann Kuebelbeck. Dr. Kuebelbeck advised that Valentine
and Flower should have gained more weight, and, at a minimum, they should have
gained one (I) to two (2) pounds per day if they were being fed according to
Surgi-Care’s recommendations. Dr. Kuebelbeck advised that they recommended
to RVR Horse Rescue that Valentine and Flower be fed alfalfa hay and Senior
feed, and if they were being fed anything other than that, it was against their
recommendation. Moreover, on April9, 2014, Detective Davis spoke with Dr.
Twilla of Surgi-Care regarding her feeding recommendations. Dr. Twilla advised
that she recommended feeding only hay for the first 28 days and then
supplementing with two cups of Senior feed per day to start, because no one at
RVR Horse Rescue advised her that the horses had successfully been being fed
grain prior to coming to RVR Horse Rescue. Dr. Twilla advised that her
recommendations were based upon the horses having not had any grain for quite
some time prior to coming to RVR Horse Rescue. In such a situation, Dr. Twilla
slowly acclimates the horses back to feed. Dr. Twilla advised that if she had
known that the horses had been on grain, she would have made different feeding
recommendations, and been in line with the recommendations of Dr. Mayo and
Dr. Mallicote. Dr. Twilla also advised that if the horses had been fed pursuant to
her feeding recommendations (despite the lack of grain during the first 28 days),
they should have gained a minimum of one (I) to two (2) pounds per day.

9. On April 2, 2014, the date the horses were initially seized, Detective Davis took
photographs of Valentine and Flower while located at RVR Horse Rescue. Color
copies of the same are attached hereto as Exhibit “E”. On April 3, 2014, HCSO
Crime Scene Investigator Brannon Douglas took photographs of Valentine and
Flower at HCSO’s Impound Lot and stables. Color copies of the same are
attached hereto as Exhibit “F.”

10. It would be in the best interest of Valentine and Flower for this Court to make a
determination that Respondent is not fit to have custody of Valentine and
Flower under the provisions of Florida Statutes section 828.073(4)-(5); and to
issue orders as indicated below and as the Court deems appropriate and
necessary. See§ 828.073(4)-(5), Fla. Stat. (2013).

11. Valentine and Flower are presently in the custody and care of HCSO, as allowed
under Florida Statute section 828.073(4)(a). See§ 828.073(4)(a), Fla. Stat.
(2013).

12. While in HCSO’s custody, HCSO has provided, and continues to provide
Valentine and Flower with care from HCSO’s Detectives, food, water, shelter
and veterinary services.

13. HCSO has incurred, and continues to incur monetary costs associated with
Valentine’s and Flower’s care, food, water, shelter and veterinary services.
HCSO is entitled to recover all of these costs associated with the care of
Valentine and Flower while in HCSO’s custody, as provided by Florida Statutes
section 828.073( 4)( c )(2). See § 828.073( 4)( c)(2), Fla. Stat. (20 13).

14. It would in the best interest of Valentine and Flower, and any other animals that
are currently in Respondent’s custody or control, or that Respondent may own in
the future, for this Court to make a determination that Respondent is not fit to
have custody of said animals under the provisions of Florida Statutes section
828.073(4)-(5); and to issue orders as indicated below and as the Court deems
appropriate and necessary. See§ 828.073(4)-(5), Fla. Stat. (2013).

WHEREFORE, Petitioner, David Gee, Sheriff of Hillsborough County, Florida,
respectfully requests that this Court find and order:

a. Custody Awarded to HCSO and Allow for Sale or Donation by HCSO:
Respondent is unable and/or unfit to have custody of and/or adequately provide
for Valentine and Flower; custody of Valentine and Flower shall be given to
HCSO; upon their full recovery, Valentine and Flower shall be offered for auction
under the provisions of Florida Statutes sections 828.073( 4)-(7). See §
828.073(4)-(7), Fla. Stat. (2013), or, in lieu of being sold at public auction,
donated to a nonprofit charitable organization of Petitioner’s choosing.

b. Costs Awarded to HCSO: Respondent shall pay for all costs incurred by HCSO
for Valentine and Flower, including, but not limited to, the costs associated with
the investigation and care by HCSO’s Detectives, food, water, shelter and
veterinary services as provided by Florida Statutes section 828.073(4)(c)(2). See§
828.073(4)(c)(2), Fla. Stat. (2013).

c. Enjoin Respondent from Animal Ownership: Respondent is unable and/or unfit
to have custody of and/or adequately provide for any other animals or livestock
in Respondent’s custody or control, if any; that said animals or livestock shall be
turned over to the undersigned Detective; and Respondent shall be enjoined from
further ownership, possession or custody of other any animals or livestock in
Hillsborough County, Florida pursuant to Florida Statutes section
828.073(4)(c)(3). See§ 828.073(4)(c)(3), Fla. Stat. (2013).

Respectfully submitted,

Thea G. Clark, ESQ.

View Petition and Exhibits

View Amended Order on Partial Ruling

RVR Horse Rescue, Inc. Attorney Robert Herce filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for the respondent.

The request was granted by the judge on June 9, 2014. The respondent was given until June 24 to secure new representation to continue their portion of the trial.

Respondent settled the dispute with Sheriff David Gee.

 

View Joint Stipulation and Agreement 

Case closed February 2015

 

Sheriff’s Office Investigates RVR Horse Rescue

RVR Horse Rescue Settles Dispute, Loses Ownership of Seized Horses