A former Michigan horse trainer is behind bars and banned from owning animals after he accepted a plea deal in an animal abuse case. Authorities say they found nine starving and one dead horse on the property of Geoffrey Eickmann, of Coldwater, in February.
Eickmann, who previously advertised training national-level Arabian show horses, pleaded no contest to attempted abandonment and cruelty of two to three animals, which is a misdemeanor. He was facing a charge of felony abandonment and cruelty of four to ten animals.
Branch County District Judge Brent Weigle ordered Eickmann to “not own, purchase, or possess any animals except his current cat.”
Eickmann was sentenced to 30-days in jail, suspended for 6-months, if he performs 150-hours of community service. He must also serve two-years probation, pay restitution of at least $2300 for the horses’ care. Eickmann must also get a mental health evaluation.
Concerned citizens notified authorities about a herd of horses without hay or water in a pasture in early 2014. The horses were eating bark off the trees, the wood off fencing, and the particle board from inside a shelter.
During their investigation, deputies made the grim discovery of a frozen, dead horse locked in a stall in Eickmann’s stable. There was no food or water available to the horse, although feed was located in the barn.
Nine horses were seized from the property and treated for various ailments.