Dual Peppy on the day he was discovered.
After more than seven hours of deliberation, jurors found that a Colorado horse breeder abused her horses. Sherri Brunzell was convicted on eight counts of animal cruelty in an El Paso County Courtroom.
An emotional Diana Ragula says she is relieved after the guilty verdict. She is the woman that took action after finding Brunzell’s 10 emaciated horses and llamas living with their former stablemates’ carcasses last September. “I don’t want my daughter or any other child to have to fight for something so gruesome and heartbreaking when it never should have been that way to begin with.”
Days after Ragula contacted authorities the animals were seized from their crypt-like stable.
Brunzell, who took the stand in her own defense on Thursday, was found not guilty of six counts. Brunzell defended her actions and told the court about her years of experience with horses. She said she learned early in life that the horses’ needs came before her own. She admitted that changed when her mother became ill and she put her sales business on hold. Brunzell testified she would only feed the horses hay ever other day, but said they always had plenty of water. Brunzell said she didn’t use veterinarians or farriers anymore.
In closing arguments, the prosecution took jurors back through the before and after photos of Brunzell’s seized horses. Chief Deputy District Attorney Shannon Gerhart pointed out that the horses didn’t get like that overnight, but that it took years. And that each horse’s condition has improved with basic care since being seized.
Defense attorney Andrew Bryant closed by stating Brunzell did not neglect her horses. He reminded the jurors that the charges were only for the living horses, not the dead, and that they were in no imminent danger.
Brunzell is scheduled for sentencing on August 13th.