Charges Filed Against People Who Neglected 50 Horses

Back in October, the Union County Sheriff’s Office and ASPCA removed 50 horses from a Lake Butler, Florida property. The horses are finally starting to recover and regain weight months after they were rescued. The people responsible for their poor and neglected conditions are finally facing charges.

Many of the horses were in desperate need of medical care. All were underweight and malnourished. Multiple equine rescues Florida and one in Kentucky stepped up to take in the horses. As the rescues try to regain the trust of the horses and nurture them, the people responsible for their suffering are being prosecuted.

Photo:ASPCA


Cheryl and Richard Ervin, owners of the 40-acre Lake Butler property, were charged with 37 misdemeanor counts and four felony counts of animal cruelty. A boarder, Pablo Rivas, was also charged with a felony count of animal cruelty for neglecting to care for his horse’s medical issues.

An investigation was conducted on the conditions and health of all the horses kept on the property. When officials first arrived back in October, they found two dead horses and dozens more that were skin and bones. Evidence was collected which led to the charges against the owners.

Photos: ASPCA

Dr. Emily Weiss, Vice President of ASPCA Equine Welfare said, “While some horses may need more time to heal, we’re confident that they’re in a better place now and look forward to seeing these beautiful animals stewarded into their next homes.”

“We would like to thank the ASPCA and the many law enforcement agencies involved in this complex investigation into animal cruelty in our county—we take these cases very seriously and animal cruelty will not be tolerated,” said Sheriff Brad Whitehead from the Union County Sheriff’s Office.


Thank you to all those involved in rescuing and rehabilitating the horses. You can stay updated on all the horses by following the rescues below that rescued the horses:
RVR Horse Rescue (Riverview, Florida)
Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation (Palm City, Florida)
Horses without Humans (Bell, Florida)
Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds (Cocoa, Florida)
Kentucky Humane Society (Louisville, Kentucky)

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