Rescue Ranch Owner Charged with Animal Cruelty - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Rescue Ranch Owner Charged with Animal Cruelty

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The owner of a horse rescue organization in Washington County was arrested on animal cruelty charges. It comes after a lengthy investigation by the State Attorney's Office, Washington County Animal Control, and Florida Department of Agriculture.

The Chief Assistant State Attorney for the 14th Judicial Circuit Greg Wilson said several people have been concerned about horses that appeared malnourished at the Eternal Freedom Youth Ranch and Horse Rescue.

The owner Stephanie Lynn was arrested Friday and booked into the Washington County Jail.

News 13 profiled Lynn's rescue efforts in 2011. At that time, she said her organization provided "care and rehabilitation for sick, abused and neglected horses."

She's now facing four felony counts of animal cruelty for horses that died in her care and two felonies for allegedly forging paperwork related to the Coggins test, the test for equine infectious anemia virus.

Stephanie Lynn didn't want to speak on the record after consulting with her attorney. She did send this comment to News 13:

"I'm so thankful for the constant support the rescue has had through all of these absurd accusations. At this time, my attorney said we will not be doing any interviews but to state we will be fighting these accusations when the time is right. Thanks again to all the continued support from those who actually know the truth and God Bless."

News 13 also spoke with Nick Alander, who drives from Pensacola to volunteer at the ranch. He say's he's adopted several healthy horses from Lynn.

"Stephanie has been great. If anyone has any concerns, she handles it immediately. I've seen horses come in that she has done some amazing things with. She's helped socialize them. She's helped get some weight on them. She does some amazing things with these horses," said Alander.

The Chief Assistant State Attorney said the investigation is ongoing and anticipates more charges will be filed in this case.