THE INVESTIGATORS: Stolen, sick horse showing progress

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The 9News Investigators checked in on a horse that was the focus of alleged animal neglect. It involves a woman arrested for allegedly using the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office name to bully a man into handing over his horses.

That man, Scott Burchfield, has a special place in his heart for Baby. The mare has gotten accustomed to the sound of his food bucket. You can tell she has quite an appetite.

"Now her body can handle more feed, so we upped the feed intake in the evening just to help her put more weight on. She still has a long way to go, but she is doing well," said Burchfield.

Last month, Sheriff Jason Ard said a woman named Alysia Maloney contacted the sheriff's office to complain that two horses on Burchfield's property were malnourished and appeared to be near death. When his deputies didn't seize the horses, Ard said the woman took matters into her own hands and along with two officers from another department, convinced Burchfield to surrender to her all three of his horses. Shortly after, Maloney was arrested on three counts of extortion and one count of obstruction. All three of the horses, including Baby, were returned to Burchfield. Baby has been recovering from a bacterial infection from the August 2016 flood.

"Her future looks good. Right how her future is just to give her healthy and back full where she needs to be and go from there," said Burchfield.

It's obvious that Baby has put on some weight. Burchfield says the mare has gained just over 100 pounds. Her veterinarian, Dr. Mark Gray, told 9News it's a slow process, but Baby's prognosis looks good.

"She's on a program where she has a digestible diet right now and the nutrients she is getting from it are working," said Gray.

Sheriff Ard says his office takes cases of alleged animal abuse seriously. He hopes this story is proof of that. "I want people to understand we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, and this owner has bent over backwards to do what he has to do," said Ard.

"My main concern is the health of that animal right there. That's all I'm concerned about," said Burchfield.

Burchfield's other two horses were never ill and are being kept on a separate property while Baby recovers. Maloney is scheduled to be arraigned on August 2.

On Wednesday, July 12, Maloney's attorney released a statement on her behalf. The statement reads:

The accusations against Mrs. Maloney are false and preposterous. Mrs. Maloney has a tremendous heart and is a respected member of the equine community. She is grateful for the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence proving she lawfully obtained the horses and we are confident we will prove her innocence through the criminal justice system.

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