(Somerville, TN) The Fayette County man charged with 18 counts of animal cruelty made his first court appearance today in Somerville, Tenn.
Bond was set at $90,000 for Anthony Richardson, who was arrested Tuesday after authorities found evidence of 18 starving and neglected horses and one mule.
But it was even worse – several more horses were found dead, and it all led to some emotional testimony in court Wednesday morning.
Doctor Jennifer Dunlap owns Dunlap Equine Services in Somerville.
“We just want to make sure that these horses get their day in court.”
Wednesday morning, she was called to testify during Anthony Richardson’s bond hearing.
She said she went to his property on Francis Road near Whiteville last week after complaints from the public about the condition of his horses.
“We found 19 horses, or 18 horses and one mule that were in extremely critical shape,” said Dunlap.
Tuesday, Dunlap, Fayette County Animal Control and members of the American Humane Association rescued the malnourished animals and made a more startling discovery – the remains of four dead horses.
Dunlap said the odor was unmistakable.
“We could smell it coming from a mile away. Even with as cold as it’s been, I can’t imagine living in an environment where I have to smell death all around me,” said Dr. Dunlap.
Anthony Richardson showed no emotion as Dunlap went over photographs of the rescued horses.
At one point, she broke down in tears showing pictures, taken by the American Humane Association, of how the starving horses stripped bark from trees in order to have something to eat.
“Whether its pieces of rock, bark. The manure these horses are producing is abnormal due to foreign objects that they’ve eaten. You know, if you’re that hungry, you’ll put just about anything in your mouth,” said Dunlap.
Richardson’s Attorney, Terry Dycus, wanted his own veterinarians to examine the horses arguing Wednesday was the first time he’d met with his client or even seen the pictures of the horses.
“There’s always more to the story. And we need to work with our client to present his side of the story as well,” said Attorney Terry Dycus.
Finally Judge Mike Whitaker set bond, while clutching the graphic images.
“This picture and the tree stripped of its bark tell me more than the veterinarians could possible tell me. I’m going to set his bond at five thousand dollars a horse, ninety thousand dollars bond,” said Judge Whitaker.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Anthony Richardson had not made bond.
His next scheduled court date is March 24th.