PETA Demands Jail Time, Ban on Owning Animals if Alleged Horse Abuser Is Convicted
For Immediate Release:
December 5, 2013
David Perle 202-483-7382
Burlington, VT – This morning, PETA sent an urgent plea to Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan calling on him to vigorously prosecute 63-year-old Shelburne resident and former WCAX-TV reporter and anchor George Wilson. Wilson is scheduled to appear in court on December 9 to face charges stemming from the reported discovery of three severely neglected horses on his property in January 2013. Officials state that the horses were locked in near-total darkness for years and forced to stand in piles of their accumulated waste. All three are said to have suffered from vision-related problems and extremely overgrown hooves. One animal reportedly had nearly 2 feet of maggot-infested hoof material removed. If convicted, Wilson could face a possible one-year prison term and a $1,000 fine.
“Too often, people who are convicted of crimes against animals walk out of court with a slap on the wrist,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “We urge Mr. Donovan to seek a sentence that includes incarceration if Wilson is convicted.”
In addition, PETA is asking that Wilson, if convicted, be ordered to pay the maximum fine and be prohibited from owning or harboring animals for as long a period as possible.
PETA’s letter to Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan follows.
December 5, 2013
The Honorable T.J. Donovan
Chittenden County State’s Attorney
32 Cherry St., Ste. 105
Burlington, VT 05401
Dear Mr. Donovan:
PETA is an international animal-protection organization with more than 3 million members and supporters globally, thousands proudly residing in Vermont. This letter concerns a case being handled by your office, involving George Wilson, 63, of Shelburne. According to news sources, Wilson faces charges of cruelty to animals stemming from the discovery of three severely neglected horses on his property in January 2013. Reportedly, the horses were locked in dark, undersized stalls and forced to stand amid several feet of accumulated manure. Their vision was found to be poor—possibly from having been in the dark for years. Furthermore, the animals’ hooves were allegedly grossly overgrown—20 inches of maggot-infested hoof material was apparently removed from one horse. Wilson is scheduled to appear in court on these charges on December 9.
If these reports are accurate, it appears that Wilson is either unwilling or unable to meet basic duties of ownership, and being “in the system” is unlikely to instill in any such perpetrator a legitimate sense of compassion or responsibility. Given that repeat crimes are the rule rather than the exception among animal abusers, we respectfully ask that, if he is convicted, as part of the sentencing and in addition to a period of incarceration, he be prohibited from owning or harboring animals (a common provision in such cases) for as long as possible. Please see the attached for more information.
Thank you for your time and consideration and for the difficult work that you do.
Senior Cruelty Caseworker
Cruelty Investigations Department
For more information, please visit PETA.org.