Originally created 08/30/97

Man charged in cruelty case



Animal control officers charged a Hephzibah man Friday with cruelty to a young pony whose hide was scraped to the bone as it was dragged down a highway behind a van earlier this week.

Alonzo Holmes, 48, of Ulm Road in Hephzibah, was issued a citation and ordered to appear Oct. 2 in Magistrate Court, said Jim Larmer, director of Richmond County Animal Control. A conviction on the misdemeanor charge usually results in a fine up to $500 and a judge could also order restitution on veterinary bills, Mr. Larmer said.

Medical costs for the pony, renamed Fuzzy, have topped $800 - although drug companies have been offering products at half price, Hephzibah veterinarian Janet Distler said.

Mr. Holmes told animal control officers the pony's rope was snagged on his bumper and he didn't realize he dragged the animal, Mr. Larmer said. A telephone listing in Mr. Holmes' name had been temporarily disconnected Friday.

Dr. Distler, who described the 300-pound pony's injuries as "gruesome," spent five hours Tuesday stitching the pinto colt's wounds, including reconstructing an eyelid. The animal was found that morning on U.S. Highway 1 about three miles from Mr. Holmes' house, she said.

The 8-month-old pony was scraped raw along his chest and right side, exposing bone in his chest, jaw, knees and ankles, she said. The colt also may have suffered paralysis on the right side of his jaw and Dr. Distler was concerned that the animal could still die if infection sets into his wounds.

Fuzzy was stable Friday, workers at South Pointe Animal Hospital said.

Mr. Holmes' wife signed over possession of the pony, previously named Bobo, to Dr. Distler. Tommy Pennington, mayor of Blythe, has said his family will adopt the colt if it survives.

Mr. Pennington's wife, Tammy, has helped care for the pony since it was found in the middle of the road Tuesday by Mr. Pennington's brother, he said.