RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A self-described “horse whisperer” from Virginia has been charged with neglecting and abusing five horses found to be severely malnourished and starving.
The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports that authorities said five other horses in his care died before they could intervene.
Nathaniel White Feather, 60, is the owner and operator of the White Feather Trail Rides and Literacy Program. When reached Monday by the Times-Dispatch, White Feather said he was instructed by his attorney not to comment on the charges.
“I’ve devastated by all of this,” he said. “You can talk to people that know me, that know my love and care for horses, and they (know) this isn’t correct.”
White Feather described himself as a horse “behavioralist,” or horse whisper, who is experienced in getting to the core of a horse’s problem..
“I ‘gentle’ the horses for usage,” he said. “That’s how I train horses. I don’t break them.”
Alicia Mahar, executive director of Circle A Home for Horses in Virginia Beach, a nonprofit horse rescue organization, testified during a hearing Friday that she allowed White Feather to adopt 10 horses for what he described as a program for kids that included trail riding. She said all the horses were in excellent health.
After receiving photos of the horses March 3 from the Powhatan Sheriff’s Office, she made arrangements to retrieve them on March 5.
When Mahar said she reached Whitehead to make the arrangements, “he reluctantly told me we would only pick up five horses; the remaining five were dead.”
The five surviving horses are now gaining weight and have become stronger, Mahar said.
White Feather was charged March 12 with five counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and neglect. Prosecutors said Monday that five additional counts of animal cruelty were to be served on White Feather.
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