BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) — An arrest warrant has been issued for an Attleboro woman accused of abandoning a trio of horses at a farm in Burrillville.
According to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA), Eva Berndt is wanted on a misdemeanor charge of abandonment of animals.
The RISPCA says Berndt started boarding the horses at J & S Family Ranch in August and then stopped showing up, forcing the farm to take on the cost of caring for the horses, which has reportedly climbed to around $5,000.
“I started feeding them and it became like one of those things where you go, you can’t walk away,” Christine Cooper, a barn hand at the farm, told Eyewitness News. “It can’t ask for help. It cant tell you it’s hungry.”
Two of the horses have since been transferred to another facility in Fairfield, Conn., but the third is still with Cooper. She plans to keep him.
“He prances pretty,” she said, in between kissing the 19-year-old horse’s nose.
Eyewitness News spoke with Berndt over the phone Thursday afternoon. She said she was trying to rescue the horses from euthanisia when she transported them to Burrillville from North Carolina. A southern rescue organization had pledged to support the horses with donations, according to Berndt, but the money never came. Faced with her own financial constraints and physical disabilities, Berndt said the bills got away from her, though she insists she paid the farm $350 in cash and visited the horses occasionally through December.
She said she plans to eventually turn herself in.
Cooper, in the meantime, said she can’t wrap her head around the situation.
“[I’m] very angry that someone could look at a creature like this and say, ‘Well it’s OK, they don’t need food, they don’t need hay today,'” she said. “It’s just unexcusable.”