Franklin Lee and Theresa Cleaves pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor animal cruelty counts on Monday in Riverside County Superior Court, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
Animal Services first investigated the couple for neglecting seven horses in March 2008 near Temecula. The Cleaves subsequently relocated the horses to Aguanga. They were moved once again to Anza. The Cleaves had been advised to feed their horses regularly and provide veterinary care.
Animal Control officers went to a property on the 59000 block of Reservation Rd. on Nov. 4, 2008, and seized seven horses and placed them in protective custody.
One horse was so deteriorated Animal Services had to euthanize it. Another horse was later euthanized due to cancer. The surviving five horses were cared for by the agency and have been adopted or transferred to rescues, according to the department.
The Cleaves pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanor animal cruelty counts Monday. They received probation and are forced to reimburse Riverside County Animal Services for care and rehabilitation of the horses in the amount of $54,000. The couple is forbidden from owning horses for three years.