ONEONTA, Ala. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Horse owners in Georgia and across the Southeast applaud the indictment of an Alabama woman accused of pulling a tragic scam.
Over the weekend, Blount County, Alabama sheriff's deputies arrested Fallon Blackwood at a local rodeo. They had been looking for her since October 2018, when a grand jury indicted Blackwood on 13 counts of bringing into the state property obtained by false pretense elsewhere.
The charges involve a collection of typically older horses victims admit they voluntarily gave Blackwood with the understanding she would take them to live out their lives on her farm near Boaz, Alabama. But when Blackwood could not account for the horses, the original owners filed complaints with authorities, accusing her of theft. They still fear the worst.
"They suffered a death that they didn't deserve," former Georgia resident Lisa Rudolph explained from her home in Florida. "And I think they were slaughtered."
Rudolph says in 2017 she gave Blackwood a horse named Cocoa and a mini-mule called Tibby with the understanding Rudolph would retrieve them after she finished her move to Florida.
Like so many other victims, Rudolph was comforted by Blackwood's educational background: she was a third-year student at the Tuskegee College of Veterinary Medicine.
Like all the others, she now believes the horses were sold to people who are in the business of providing sources of meat for Mexican slaughterhouses.
"I would never have given my animals to anybody had they not represented what she represented," Rudolph insisted. "It was all deceptive and a lie. I'm hoping that now justice will be done."
Blount County district attorney Pamela Casey says she understands.
"I have lots of animals," she explained. "And I can see if you thought someone was taking an animal to rehome it and found out later that something else happened that you'd be upset."
I asked if any of the 13 horses in the criminal case wound up in Mexico.
"I don't believe the horses are alive at this time," the DA replied.
"Do you think they were sent to another country?"
"I don't want to give any facts of the case."
Blackwood quickly bonded out of jail. Tuskegee would not comment on her status citing privacy laws, but fellow students say she was back on campus this week where she's finishing her studies to graduate in May.