A Lakeland couple faces animal cruelty charges after 19 neglected horses were seized from their property, including one that died from malnutrition.
Polk County deputies arrested Jacob Caudy, 28, and Emily Cowper, 24, on Monday, June 2.
Arrest affidavits say the couple was paid more than $1,200 by a California woman to care for her 8-year-old thoroughbred. Deputies in April found the horse in a skeletal state, confined to a fenced compound without sufficient food and water. Deputies say 19 horses were found, but one horse died at the scene while being treated.
According to their arrest affidavits, Caudy and Cowper have been paid since 2011 by the victim, Anita Tucker — who lives in California — to care for her thoroughbred 8-year-old horse, Dixie Boy.
Deputies say Tucker provided deputies with copies of checks paid to Caudy and Cowper totaling more than $1,200 for the care of Dixie Boy.
On April 24 Dixie Boy was found at the property in a skeletal state, confined in a fenced compound without sufficient food or water. The suspects told deputies they had taken Dixie Boy to the vet a week prior, but the deputies were able to prove otherwise. The horse was turned over to sheriff’s office at that time.
During the ongoing investigation, deputies found several other horses and animals on the property at 9920 Steven Drive in Polk City, where the horses were being held, that were not properly being cared for, without sufficient food, water, or care.
Deputies seized a total of 19 horses, one of which was emaciated, dehydrated and in distress. That horse died on-scene while being treated by a veterinarian. Caudy told deputies that horse was his, and had been laying on the ground for at least one day.
Deputies also seized one dog, one cat, one kitten, 14 snakes, two iguanas, one African grey parrot, and one lovebird. All of these animals are at PCSO Animal Control.
Seven of the seized horses are at PCSO Animal Control being treated by the PCSO Animal Control veterinarian; 10 of the more healthy horses are at a PCSO stockade in Bartow.
During a search of the residence, deputies located a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s badge, which Caudy told deputies he stole from a residence while visiting a friend whose husband is a HCSO deputy sheriff.
Caudy was booked into the Polk County Jail for one count petit theft, one count felony animal cruelty, and 45 counts confining animals without sufficient food and water.
Cowper was booked into the Polk County Jail for one count perjury, one count grand theft, one count felony animal cruelty and 45 counts confining animal without sufficient food and water.
Dixie Boy is at Hope Equine Rescue in Auburndale, and he has gained 91 pounds in the past four weeks, the sheriff’s office reports.
Cocaine found after arrest
A 27-year-old Bartow man was charged with possession of cocaine of May 24 after he was being brought to the police department on a domestic battery charge, the Bartow Police Department reports.
Officer Jose Joglar reported he found the cocaine in the right side floorboard in the prisoner transport area where Andrew Deshawn Smith was sitting. He had also reported that before he started work that day, he cleaned his patrol car and inspected the floorboards and found them clear.
At 7:31 p.m. Joglar responded to Smith’s home where he, his wife and two children have lived together for six years. Joglar talked with Smith’s wife who said she had an argument with Smith that escalated into a physical altercation. Smith pushed her towards the hallway and punched her in the left side of her head.
She said she then threw a coffee mug at Smith and missed.
At the same time one of their children was standing down the hall with a wooden stick he was playing with. The wife took the stick and tried to hit Smith with it, she said.
After he was taken to the police department, Joglar said he found two pouches of BC Powder in the floorboard. One pouch contained two smaller pouches with white powder. The second BC Powder pouch had two transparent baggies with white powder residue. The item tested positive for cocaine, the report said.
Convicted felon gets firearms charges
Michael Marquise Jones, 29, of Haines City, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and resisting arrest. On May 25 when he was stopped in his Hummer at Azalea Gardens for not wearing a seat belt, the Bartow Police Department reports.
Cpl. Bryan Dorman was stationed at the entrance of Azalea Gardens Apartment Complex, 1050 S. Golfview Ave., because of recent criminal behavior. While there he saw an orange 2004 Hummer driving south on Golfview then turn into the apartment complex.
Upon not seeing the driver wearing a seat belt he asked Jones to stop. Jones looked directly at Dorman, ducked his head and continued to drive into the complex. Dorman then asked three times for Jones to stop, which he didn’t, the report said.
During this process, Dorman saw Jones leave the driver’s seat and crawl into the rear seat. He saw Gareth Hutton of Winter Haven drawl into the driver’s seat, the report said.
At this point, back up officers arrived on the scene and three people got out of the car. When they were leaving the Hummer, a 40-caliber Taurus semi-automatic pistol was located on the floorboard. A Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun was found on the floorboard in the back.
All three people were secured. One person from the car — Donquarius Andrews of Dundee — said the shotgun was in the vehicle when he entered earlier in the night. Both provided taped statements and neither was arrested, the report said.
After being read his rights, Jones spoke to police and said he was driving when he entered Azalea Gardens. He said he also jumped into the back seat to avoid being charged for driving with a suspended license. When asked about the firearms, Jones said he wanted assurance that the other two in the car would not be charged for them as they did nothing wrong and “they were just riding with him.”
Jones said the firearms belonged to him but could not provide why he had them. When asked if could possess firearms, Jones said he could not because he is a convicted felon, the report said.
Noted on the police report is Jones driver’s license has 20 suspensions. It also noted the 40-caliber firearm was loaded. The shotgun was not.
Man charged with music being too loud
Calvin Johnson, 26, of 121 3rd St., Fort Meade, was charged May 26, with violation of the Bartow noise ordinance when a police officer reports the music from his car was too loud, the Bartow Police Department reports.
While on patrol, Officer Eric Sudhoff was driving northbound on South Golfview Avenue and saw a four-door vehicle going south with “unreasonably loud music coming from the vehicle.”
Sudhoff made a U-turn and stopped the car, where he cited Johnson.
Woman charged with hitting boyfriend
A 21-year-old woman was charged with domestic battery May 26 after she allegedly punched her boyfriend in the face after he said he wanted to end their relationship, the Bartow Police Department reported.
J’Nae Chante Carlton, was charged with the crime after her boyfriend reported that a verbal argument had turned physical, a police report said.
When Alonzo Allen told Carlton he wanted to end their relationship (they were living together with one common child) she started punching him in face, police reported.
Carlton got into the car and started driving erratically in the area of North Jackson Avenue and East North Street. A witness saw Allen get out of the vehicle and ran into a house in the 500 block of North Jackson Avenue. Allen asked to use the phone saying that Carlton had punched him. Allen told police that Carlton punched him and fled the area after he left the vehicle.
Allen told Officer Michelle Smith that Carlton is “unable to control herself,” and she “lost it,” when he told her that he wanted to end their relationship, according to reports. He also said he did not want Carlton to go to jail and began saying she did not hit him. Despite that, Carlton was arrested, the police report said.
Man gets life sentence for drug murder
A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for shooting to death an 18-year-old high school student in 2012.
A Polk County judge sentenced 21-year-old Ethan Lucas on Tuesday after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder and attempted robbery.
Lucas killed Alicia Barnett in an attempt to steal marijuana that she was selling.
Lucas’ attorney argued during the trial that Lucas was not guilty because he was at home during the time of the murder.
Antonio Callaway, who was also charged in the crime, will be tried in August.
– The Associated Press