One of the 11 horses seized from James "Bo" Sharpe by authorities.
The owner of a Florida horseback and trail riding business was arrested Friday for allegedly abusing horses. James “Bo” Sharpe, of Okeechobee, is facing eight felony and three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.
Video purportedly of Sharpe lunging a horse recently surfaced online. The Prairie Trail Riders’ business owner is seen allegedly striking an equine multiple times as the animal goes in and out of the video’s frame.
Sharpe’s website advertises, “Prairie Trail Riders LLC is Okeechobee, Florida’s [sic] best horse back riding tour guide around… Plus, we work hard to ensure the environment is protected during our tours, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that our company contributes to our environment’s sustainability.”
According to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department, Sharpe filed a complaint on May 8th alleging someone created a fake Facebook page named Prairie Trail Riders LLC modeled after his business page. Sharpe reportedly told the deputy that the page contained a video of someone beating a horse on the page. “If you look at the video you can tell it’s not me… I talked to the man that built my website and he said whoever did this broke the law. I just need something done because this could possibly hurt my business.”
A day later, the same deputy was dispatched to Sharpe’s property again regarding an animal cruelty complaint involving 11 horses. Upon further examination, authorities say they removed the horses because they were malnourished and had multiple abrasions. Two of the horses seized from Sharpe are mustangs.
Sharpe turned himself in at the Martin County Sheriff’s office on Friday after learning there was a warrant for his arrest. Bond was set at $23,000. Sharpe bonded out by mid-Friday afternoon, according to the jail.