After horses seized, neighbors speak out about horse owner and seek justice

PENROSE, Colo. — A small Penrose community is seeking justice for one of their own after what they believe was an unjust investigation.

Penny Gingerich is charged with 64 counts of animal cruelty after 63 of her horses were seized Friday. The horses were removed from a home near 10th Street and L Street following an animal cruelty investigation by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.

It all started when a neighbor who lives just a short distance away complained to officials that Gingerich was abusing and neglecting her animals. However, after speaking with close neighbors Tuesday they say those claims simply aren’t true.

“Is everybody upset?” said Debi Stevens, a neighbor. “Yeah, everybody is upset.”

A total of 63 horses who act as ambassadors to children in summer camps were taken with little to no notice by Fremont County officials.

“I know this lady personally,” said Sheri Culkin. “I sold her the business about two years ago and she had healthy horses and you don’t come and just confiscate healthy horses.”

Authorities spoke with the local feed store who confirmed Gingerich regularly bought food for her animals yet still the horses were removed from the home.

“She feels emotionally raped and done over,” said Stevens. “Here she is trying to do the things that are right in life. She’s law abiding.”

Neighbors say Gingerich has spent her entire life surrounded by horses and is nothing but dedicated to the care of her animals.

“She’s a very sweet genuine person,” said Stevens. “When I’m out here at 6 o’clock in the morning taking care of my horses, she’s out at 6 o’clock in the morning taking care of her horses.”

“People in this community know this huge herd of horses and they know this girl takes care of her horses,” added Culkin.

Which is all the more reason they want to know why officials were so quick to take the animals.

“They’re gentle, they were well cared for, not cut up or anything like that,” said Stevens. “They’re at a good body weight.”

According to a notice, Gingerich has 10 days to come up with $22,680 dollars to cover 30 days of care for the horses or she could lose ownership.

“If somebody’s barn burns down or something, we go and help,” said Culkin. “If somebody’s horses are out, we go chase them. If somebody’s cows come in your pen, let them in. So we’re going to help each other, we’re going to stand up for each other and Penny is the kind of person that deserves that.”

All the horses have been taken to a secure holding facility where they will be cared for until a judge makes a decision.

In the meantime, neighbors say they’ve already started writing letters to the District Attorney’s office in hopes that justice will be served.

 

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