A central Florida woman that advertises horse training and boarding services was charged on Tuesday for the alleged maltreatment of her horses.
Emily Cowper is charged with felony animal cruelty, 45 misdemeanor counts of confining an animal without sufficient food and water, perjury, and felony grand theft.
Polk County Sheriff deputies began investigating Cowper, of Lakeland, in April after a California woman contacted authorities. Anita Tucker began boarding her thoroughbred gelding “Dixie Boy” at Cowper’s Farrington Farm in Polk City in 2011. Tucker contacted officials alleging her horse was not being cared for properly. In late April, the bay gelding was found in a “skeletal state,” without sufficient food or water in a fenced area, according to deputies. Dixie Boy is recovering at a local horse rescue.
Deputies served a search warrant at the farm reportedly operated by Cowper. They allegedly found horses without sufficient food or water. Authorities say 19 horses were seized, but one was so weak it didn’t make it off the property before it died. A necropsy is being performed to determine the horse’s cause of death.
A dog, two cats, snakes, iguanas, and two birds were also removed during the seizure.
Cowper advertises farrier services, horse training for hunter/jumpers, pleasure horses, in addition to boarding horses.
Also facing charges related to the condition of the animals and the theft of a deputy’s badge is Jacob Caudy. During a search of the couple’s residence, deputies say they located a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s badge, which Caudy admitted stealing from a friend’s home whose husband is a deputy.
Cowper was released after posting $26,000 bail. Caudy remains behind bars on a $23,750 bond.
Both could face additional charges, according to authorities.