Horse owner facing charges after deputies say animals found underweight

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BURKE COUNTY, N.C. - A horse owner has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

The horses were seized earlier this week.

The owner, Bobbie Reep, said she plans on fighting the charges in court in hopes of getting all of her animals back. 

Reep showed Channel 9 the bags of food used to feed the horses on her farm south of Morganton. She claims it’s evidence that she did not starve her animals.

Reep said a dispute with neighbors led to not only her horses being seized but also to the six counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges she now faces in Burke County. 

But Sheriff Steve Whisenant said it was a previous visit that led his deputies to take action.

“When we were there a couple of weeks ago, there was no feed,” Whisenant said. “The only feed they saw was hay. There was no food and the hay was on feces and had mold on it.”

Reep said some of the horses were rescued and that was part of the reason they were underweight. But she admitted she is out of work and feeding all of them has been challenging. 

She showed Eyewitness News some of the receipts for food purchased for the horses. 

“Sometimes, rarely, I may not have everything for them to eat that evening but they do have something to eat,” Reep said.

Investigators think she had too many horses, leading to the problems on the farm.  

The warrant says she intentionally deprived the horses of food, which is something Reep disputes.

“I'm not cruel to anything,” she said.

The sheriff said they are going to try to find temporary homes for all of the horses until the case goes to court later this month.