(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."