Thomas Jessberger was arrested on March 2, 2015 in Florida.
A former horse rescue operator was captured Monday in Florida after evading authorities for five months. Thomas Jessberger fled Montana after being charged with more than 30 counts of animal cruelty.
Jessberger’s freedom ended at an Ocala motel after a tip was called into authorities. He was arrested on a warrant from Broadwater County and remains behind bars. Authorities say they will seek extradition.
Authorities seized 29 horses from Rocky Acres Rescue and Sanctuary last spring after numerous complaints were received. Two horses were euthanized due to their poor condition. Jessberger and co-defendant Dahlene Rindahl are charged with 34 felony counts of cruelty to animals.
Jessberger has a criminal record in Kentucky and Montana. Jessberger pleaded no contest to writing more than $10,000 in bad checks in June. He was given a five-year suspended sentence in Broadwater County. Prosecutor Karla Mae Bosse said recently she filed a petition to revoke his sentence. He also faces a felony in Yellowstone County.
If found guilty, Jessberger and his co-defendant face a maximum sentence of up to 68 years in prison and $85,000 in fines in the animal cruelty case.