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Columbia County - More Animal Abuse Revealed Sheriff's Office Shoots Pet Horse – Stonewalls Owner

Somewhere up on the rise on a dark and rainy night, Brandy Emery's pet horse was shot by the Sheriff Office. For weeks, Ms. Emery was stonewalled by Sheriff Mark Hunter.

Columbia County's track record regarding the inhumane treatment of animals has reached another new low. After what many consider the inept, amateur and idiotic treatment of K-9 Officers by both the Lake City Police Department and the Sheriff's Office in Columbia County, the Observer is sorry to report that the Columbia County Sheriff's Office this past September, 2011, shot Brandy Emery's 3 year old pet horse, Tahoe, which she raised since it was a baby.

Part II coming Wednesday: The police reports, sworn testimony, commentary 

At about 9 am on Labor Day Ms. Emery was visiting with friends in Tampa when she received a call from her ex husband, Lane Emery, who was caring for her horse on property he was renting just over the Columbia County border in Suwannee County.

Mr. Emery explained that he had an altercation with his landlord and he feared for the horse's safety. He asked her to take the horse to her place in Columbia County.

Ms. Emory told the Observer, "I got a ride back from Tampa and arrived at my ex's house early in the afternoon. I couldn't find anybody with a horse trailer to help me, so I decided to walk him down CR 240 to my place, which was about 26 miles away. I wasn't going to leave him there. I really loved that horse."

After walking for an hour or so, Ms. Emery said a couple with a horse trailer stopped and tried to help. According to Ms. Emery, the couple was a little inebriated and after the woman began to smack the horse with a rope and unsuccessfully tried to force lead him into the trailer, Ms. Emery thanked them and continued her walk with her horse.

By this time it had begun to rain and gotten dark. Ms. Emory said, "Someone drove by and honked the horn. The horse bolted. I hung on to the lead as long as I could, but when he began dragging me, I had to let go."

"I called my friends, Dave and Tamara, who around 9 pm pulled up with a trailer. We could make out the horse at the back of a piece of property, but couldn't get him. I was soaking from the rain and freezing. They drove me home to warm up. It was about 9:35."

"At about 10:15 pm I called the Sheriff. I spoke with a woman at dispatch and told her I had lost my horse. I was advised there were no reports of any incidents in the area. I left my name number and a brief description of the horse and where he was last seen. Then, when I went back outside, I discovered my car had a flat."

Exhausted, Ms. Emery said she decided to wait until daylight to look for her horse.

September 5 – Monday – 9 am

Ms. Emery continued, "My ex-husband went to the area where the horse was last seen and looked for him again. He left my name and number with several people who lived in the neighborhood. No one had seen the horse or heard of a missing horse."

No one had called from the Sheriff's Office.

September 7 – Wednesday – 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm

"I received a phone call from Ms. Annie Martin stating that she knew a man named Stan, who lived in the area where the horse went missing. Stan wanted to help. I called him. He came and picked me up at my house to look for the horse again."

"In route we encountered Sheriff's Deputy McCardle sitting at the intersection of CR 240 and Tustenuggee Road. I spoke with the Deputy and was informed that a horse had been shot in that area on Sunday night around 10:50 PM. The Deputy showed me the incident report on his laptop. The report was vague and did not contain any identifying information about the horse. In a state of shock, I returned home."

September 8 – Thursday

"At about 10 am, I called Detective Fred Graves of the Sheriff's Office to request the report and to inform him that I wanted to identify the horse's body and bring him home. I left a message. He never returned my call."

"That afternoon, on my way to the Sheriff's Department to obtain a copy of the police report, I called the FDLE customer complaints department. They informed me there was nothing they could do. I was told that an internal investigation had to be requested from someone who worked inside the Sheriff's Department."

"I called Capt. Floyd of the Inspector General's Office at FDLE. I left a message requesting an investigation and my horse's remains. I never received a return call."

"I arrived at the Sheriff's Department at about 4 pm to pick up a copy of the police report. After a while, one of the office ladies informed me that she couldn't give me a copy of the report because Detective Graves wouldn't release it. I was told Detective Graves said it was under investigation."

Ms. Emery heard nothing from the Sheriff for three days.

September 11 – Sunday – Approximately one week since the Sheriff shot the horse

"I had a message on my phone from Detective Graves. He wanted to meet with me at his office. I told him I couldn't, so he suggested we meet at my home on Monday morning."

September 12 – Monday – 9 am

"Detective Graves arrived at my home on schedule. He stayed in his truck in front of my house and insisted I sit in his truck with him."

"He had a different report than the one I had read on the computer in the police car days earlier."

"Detective Graves also had my complete criminal history file. He asked me to fill out a witness statement. I refused. I asked for a copy of the report and he informed me that it wouldn't be available to me until Wednesday, September 14, after 12 PM."

"After he left, I called Sheriff Hunter. I left a message with his secretary. I again requested my horse's body so that I could identify him. I was informed the Sheriff would call me back after 3:30 pm that day. He never called."

"At 11 pm that night I got on the Sheriff Department's website and sent the department an e-mail stating what happened and said again that I just wanted the horse's body back. I received no reply."

September 13 – approximately 10 am

"I again tried to contact Sheriff Mark Hunter and left another message with his secretary requesting the report and the horse's body. About 20 minutes later Sheriff Hunter returned my call and said the horse was dead and there was nothing he could do."

"I again requested the horse's body and he said I would need access to a backhoe. I called him back within the hour and informed him I had access to a backhoe."

"He laughed and said I would need permission from the property owner (Blaine Philpot) to access the property and get my horse."

"I hung up and called Linda Baca at Mid West Feed for advice and told her that Sheriff Hunter refused to cooperate with me and I was unsure of my rights."

The Observer has learned that Ms. Baca called Commissioner Bailey and relayed information about the incident to him.
A short time later, Sheriff Hunter showed up at Mid West Feed and hand delivered the report to Ms. Baca. He did not bring a copy for Ms. Emery, whose horse his Office said it shot.

"At around 2:30 PM I went to Ms. Baca's office and picked up the report. Upon reading it I found that the report I had viewed on Deputy McCardle's laptop some days earlier was not included."

"At about 8 pm my phone rang. The call was blocked. A man told me not to be in contact with the Philpots [the property where the horse was shot and purportedly buried] as I would be arrested for trespassing and harassment."

September 18 – Sunday

I took the Columbia County Observer to the spot where I lost my horse.

September 23 – Friday – approximately 1 pm – FDLE Blows Off Ms. Emery Again

I went to Gainesville to the FDLE branch to file another complaint. I had no luck. I was told I would have to call their consumer complaint number again and go to the Live Oak extension office to file a complaint.

Part II coming Wednesday: The police reports, sworn testimony, commentary 

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

On January 31, Rudolph Davis of Lake City wrote:

It is insane that this woman had to go to someone else to get a copy of the report of her horse being shot and killed during an incident which the Sheriff is responsible for. This is not being visible, transparent, and accessible. Sheriff Hunter should be held accountable. This incident shows that there was some wrongdoing and this lady needs to seek legal advice.


On February 1, 2012, amyd---- wrote:

Justice for Tahoe!!!


On February 1, 2012, ----5366 wrote:

Mrs Emery seems to have fallen into the position of being on opposite side of the table from the CCSO. Be it personal, a matter of policy, or just outright uncaring on the part of CCSO this is wrong. No other surrounding county treats its citizens or animals in such a politicized, inhumane manner.. This lady should be reimbursed for her loss.


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