Palmer sentenced for animal cruelty

Published 10:51 am Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Vidalia woman convicted of animal cruelty in November was back in court Wednesday.

Debbie Palmer was convicted of horses at large in April 2006. She was also convicted of two counts of cruelty to animals, three counts of improper disposal of animal carcasses and a violation of the livestock sanitary board in November.

Her lawyer, Paul Lemke, filed a motion to reconsider her sentence — handed down in February — after it was discovered the prosecution had neglected to inform the defense of all of the evidence against Palmer before the trial, Concordia Animal Welfare Shelter Director Lisa Smith said.

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Palmer waived her right to a jury trial, Lemke said.

Boothe sentenced Palmer on the standing convictions.

Boothe suspended a previous fine for the horses at large charge, but sentenced Palmer to almost eight months prison for the animal cruelty and improper disposal of a carcass convictions. He then suspended the prison sentence and placed her on two years probation.

He also assigned her 40 hours of community service, 10 of which are to be spent helping at the LSU veterinary department in Baton Rouge.

Boothe limited the number of horses Palmer can own or possess to 10 for the duration of her probation. An identical order was given at Palmer’s initial sentencing.

At the time of her trial, Palmer reportedly owned more than 50 horses.

Many of those horses were taken into custody because they were allegedly neglected or abused.

“We are very pleased the limitation has remained at 10,” Smith said. “As for the fines, it was never our intention to cost her a large amount of money.”

Palmer’s case was first referred to the Concordia Animal Welfare Shelter when one of her horses was struck and killed by a vehicle in January 2006.