A woman who relinquished 10 horses to officials in January has now been charged with animal cruelty. Christine Francies was charged Thursday, and made her first court appearance Monday where she pleaded not guilty.
According to court documents, the Wells County Animal Shelter received a complaint of what appeared to be skinny and malnourished horses on the property Francies was renting in Uniondale. The Shelter examined the horses. Concerned by the horses’ appearances, the Shelter asked the State Board of Animal Health to also examine them.
A state veterinarian said 10 horses had a body condition of 3.0 or lower. In the report, she explained a healthy horse is between a 4.0 and 6.0 on a body condition scale. Several horses were at a 1.0. Evidence of untreated injuries and infection were also detailed in the report. After the state examination, officials said Francies agreed to turn over the horses to the Wells Co. Animal Shelter.
One horse, Melvin, was euthanized because the likelihood of him surviving his condition was low.
The Wells Co. Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. In court documents, a Sheriff’s Detective said he visited Francies to interview her about the horses’ conditions. She told him she had the financial means to take care of the animals. However, she said she leased out the horses to other farms, but took them back after she said she was upset with the way the horses were losing weight at the other farms. When asked for paperwork regarding these leases, Francies could not provide any.
Francies was arrested Friday, and has bonded out of jail. She is charged with 11 counts of cruelty to an animal, a class A misdemeanor. The Wells Co. Animal Shelter said all the horses that were turned over to them are now back with their previous owners.