Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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(video at link) 

BABCOCK, Wis. (WSAW) -- An attorney entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Belva Bowden, a Babcock woman accused of starving a horse that had to be put down.


Bowden, 57, faces a misdemeanor of intentionally mistreating animals.

Her initial appearance was scheduled at 9 a.m. at the Wood County courthouse.

Bowden did not appear in-person, her attorney entered a plea for her.

At least a dozen of Roy's supporters, like Scott Bayerl, filled one side of the courtroom.

"We are here today to show support for attorney Zell for taking on this case," Bayerl said.

Witnesses said the horse, named Roy, was found by drivers on the side of a highway in Wood County in September.

Court documents show that on Sept. 26, 2016, a Wood County humane officer made contact with Bowden in regards to Roy.

When the officer arrived at Bowden's home, she noted there was some grain in a feed bin, a shelter, and a large bale of moldy hay. Bowden said she had been using the hay to feed the horses.

The officer also noted about a dozen other hay bales in good condition, but they were not in a location her horses could access.

When the officer asked Bowden why Roy was so thin, she responded that Roy was older and had not been eating and that she had not sought out any veterinary care for him.

The veterinarian who tried to save the horse said he had to be put down because nursing him back to health risked making him suffer a slower, more painful death.

Roy was put down in early October.

Bayrel said he and his fellow supporters were not surprised by Bowden's absence, or plea.

"It is what it is. Very few people are going to come in and plead guilty. They're going to plead not guilty. They get their day in court. Hopefully the court will listen to both sides and make a decision based on the actual facts."

As of right now, 4/27/2017, Belva Bowden's pre-trial conference is still scheduled for tomorrow, 4/28/2017 at 10:00 a.m., circuit court branch 2 at the Wood County Courthouse. I will update if I see any changes. The last time her court date got rescheduled that did not appear on CCAP until the day before the court date. I will keep a watch periodically throughout the day and let you know of any changes. 
 We hope to see you there, and let's hope for Justice for Roy!

Thank you to everyone who came to court to show support for Roy. As of right now, there is no news to report other than the jury trial is set for June 13, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. That does not mean that this will go to jury trial, as the prosecuting attorney and defense attorney could be working on a plea bargain. We will have to watch any updates on-line at the CCAP site to see where this case goes.
I have not seen any changes to this trial starting on 7/7/2017 at 9:00 am at Wood County Circuit Court Branch 2, other than Michael Zell is no longer listed at the prosecuting attorney, but rather District Attorney David Knaapen is now listed at prosecutor. I need to make the time to call today to find out if a trial is actually starting tomorrow or not and will report back when I find out.
7/6/2017:  I just got off the phone with the DA's office and there will be no trial tomorrow. The DA's office is waiting on paperwork from the defense attorney, and it sounds like they are plea'ing out a deal on the case.
Thanks for keeping us updated
Yes, thanks for the update.
 I have gotten word that before Michael Zell left (the previous ADA handling this case), he reduced Bowden's charge to an ordinance violation.  An absolute atrocity.  Let's hope the current ADA and DA handle animals cases in a much more professional and serious manner.  
Sue J
That piece of sh$! got a fine for $583!!! I am just steaming! I don't understand how these court systems  allow people to get away with this. WOW!
Best of luck to Portage County with this incompetent, heartless ADA they have to deal with.


Woman charged in horse's death gets reduced charge and fine

Karen Madden , USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinPublished 1:40 p.m. CT July 14, 2017 | Updated 1:45 p.m. CT July 14, 2017

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - A Wood County woman charged with neglecting a horse so severely that it died from starvation was fined $583 and will not face a criminal conviction. 

Belva M. Bowden of Babcock was found guilty of an ordinance violation this week as part of a plea agreement. The charge was reduced from a criminal charge of misdemeanor animal neglect. Wood County Humane Officer Nanci Olson originally requested three criminal charges against the 58-year-old Bowden, including a felony charge of mistreating an animal causing death. 

According to court documents, Bowden owned a horse named Roy, which a Babcock resident found wandering and extremely emaciated on State 80 at 2:30 a.m. Sept. 28. Bowden retrieved the horse but later voluntarily gave it to the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, based in Pittsville. 

Olson went to Bowden's home and saw two horses together in a fenced area. Roy was gaunt and had other apparent medical problems, according to court documents. The horses had access to only moldy hay.

RELATED: Charges in horse starvation case bring controversy

RELATED: Man gets year in jail for armed invasion of Wood County home

When Olson asked Bowden why Roy was so thin, the owner replied that the horse was old and had a hard time eating and had just started losing weight the previous few months, according to reports. 

The Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation worked out a treatment program for the horse, but Roy died on Oct. 2. Karen Bayerl, who co-directs the foundation with her husband, Scott, said when they found Roy was unable to stand, they knew they needed to call an emergency veterinarian to have the animal euthanized.


Roy (Photo: Photo courtesy Wood County Humane Officer)

Karen Bayerl told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin in January that she held Roy's head in her lap and fed Roy a big bowl of feed — something she had not been able to do for the horse before because his system wouldn't have handled it — while she waited for the vet.

The court case had been prosecuted by former Wood County Assistant District Attorney Michael Zell, who has since resigned and is now working in the Portage County District Attorney's Office. Wood County Assistant District Attorney David Knaapen concluded the case.

Knaapen did not immediately return a call from USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin on Friday seeking further explanation about the way the case ended. Bowden, too, could not be reached for comment.

Very Angry

And people ask why I am so cynical about the legal system in the USA, this is the F*&%ing reason. 
I am sick to my stomach again. 

Sorry Roy.  I am sorry you being tortured via starvation is only worth $583.  I am sorry Roy some low life ADA did not have the time to stand up for you because it would have delayed things on his departure.  I am sorry Roy that DA's and ADA's are only in the business for one reason and that reason is not for what is right or wrong but their own gain in life.  They prosecute things they should not and don't things they should.  They rate right up their with your last owner Roy and I am sorry that now 2 humans let you down.  Please know Roy not all humans are like those 2.  You won't have to worry about meeting them because they are not going where you are now but somewhere else [mad]

This is heartbreaking, upsetting, and horrific in so many ways.
I have to show you this beautiful and very touching gift we received today.  Laura P. made this herself and brought this to us.  This is going to hang in a very special spot that we will put a lot of though into.  

I am so deeply touched by this kindness and love.  Thank you so much Laura!  This brought tears to my eyes.  

Attached Images
Name: ROY SIGN IMG_7213 copy.jpg, Views: 114, Size: 317.64 KB

Sue J
Tears to my eyes, thank you Laura P. for making this. What a special way to honor him and keep him in our hearts and memory.
Thank you very much Laura P.  Roy touched so many hearts.  What a wonderful memorial to him.
Donna R
So thoughtful and meaningful, Laura.  It is beautiful.
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