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Pender horses cleared to go home, haven't been picked up

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It has been more than a month since investigators in Pender County removed ten malnourished horses from their owners. Now the owners have been cleared to take some of the horses back, but had not done so as of Monday night. Lisa Watts has been taking care of the horses at Scotts Hill Stables. She said a vet has determined that five or six can be returned to Billy Joe, Larry Suttles and Laura Westbrock. She said the horses are making progress, and a judge ordered the vet to check on them a few times over the next year. Watts is nervous about what will happen after that time, and has some advice for the owners. "Just take care of them. Sell the ones you don't want, keep the ones you do want, keep the numbers down, and just make sure they're being taken care of." A judge sentenced the horses' owners to unsupervised probation. Watts said she is not happy with the court decision to leave the decision up to a vet rather than a judge.

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I don't get it.

I suppose this is the same judge that would return abused children to their parents after they've been loved and nursed back to health by someone else. True, I don't know these people. They could have had all the best intentions, then just got in over their heads. They just need to consider what's best for them AND the animals. Abuse doesn't necessarily mean you don't love the animal, but you just don't know how to show it. Whatever their intentions, I would like to know how the vet/judge can justify returning these poor animals to the same people who starved them or whatever it is they are saying they didn't do (deworming???? Sure...)This is one vet I will NEVER use.