3 people arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty following a monthslong horse neglect probe

Suspect calls horse neglect case "unfortunate"

Fifty neglected horses were rescued from a Union County property, and now three people have been charged.

Cheryl and Richard Ervin are facing 37 misdemeanors and four felony counts of animal cruelty.

A third suspect, Pablo Rivas, was also arrested and is facing one felony cruelty charge.

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Their arrests cap a more than two-month-long investigation by the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The home on 100th Place still has a sign that calls it an equine facility.

Rivas was leaving the Lake Butler home where the animals once stabled were when Action News Jax approached him.

“What happened with the horses?” asked Lorena Inclán. “I’m not going to say too much because that’s in the case,” said Rivas.

The Sheriff’s Office said Rivas owned one of the horses that was being kept at the property. The office accuses him of failing to address his animal’s medical issues.

“Were the horses in good health?” Inclán asked. “I can’t tell you nothing about that,” Rivas said.

Photos posted by the Sheriff’s Office to Facebook show the condition of some of the horses.

According to deputies, four of the horses were in worse shape than the rest.

Concerned neighbors and animal rights groups led deputies to the property; however, some neighbors like Kathy Ritchie, believe the horses were well cared for.

“She kept them with food. I mean water and food was something that was always there,” said Ritchie.

The Sheriff’s Office said each of the horses are now in great health after being transferred to equine rescues, including the Kentucky Humane Society.