WARNING: This story contains graphic content. Discretion is advised.
A woman formerly living near Peterborough, Ont., has pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge after a video showed a horse being dragged by a vehicle.
According to court documents, on Wednesday, Solstice Pecile, 23, entered a guilty plea to causing distress to an animal under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act.
According to The Peterborough Examiner, Pecile was not in attendance for the court proceeding.
Last November, a video began circulating on social media showing a horse being dragged by a rope behind a vehicle. It’s not known when or where the incident occurred or what type of vehicle was involved.
Another video showed blood on the ground next to the same mare with a woman’s voice berating the animal.
The investigation by the Ministry of the Solicitor General’s animal welfare services led to a charge being laid against Pecile in late November 2022.
As a result of the plea, Pecile was fined $2,500 and placed on probation under the PAWS Act. According to the court’s ruling, she is also not permitted to have custody, care or control of any horse in Ontario for a five-year period.
During that time she is also not permitted to participate in any operation or business involving horses such as breeding, sales, rescue, fostering and more.
According to The Examiner, a lawyer noted that Pecile has moved out of Ontario after receiving death threats. She was a resident of Cavan-Monaghan Township, just south of Peterborough, at the time the charge was laid.
The horse ended up returning to its original owner. Emily Reardon said she was the original owner of the horse, named Ezra. She had sold the horse due to “unforeseen circumstances” but learned of the incident and made arrangements to buy her mare back. Last year she launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of travel, veterinary attention and more.
“Ezra is only five years old and has been through a lot in the last few months and I am so grateful I’ve managed to find her and get her back,” she said in November 2022. “She will be getting all the love, attention, and treats she deserves.”
In her Facebook page entitled “Ezra’s Journey,” Reardon called the court’s decisions “wins,” however, she noted the conditions and penalties are only applicable in Ontario.
“Not the ideal scenario with her being out of Ontario, we as the Ontario horse community should be very proud today,” Reardon said. “We spoke up, we shared, we came together, we got a result positive to the horses in our care, and we got a horse abuser out of our community. The courts did not dismiss this and going forward this outcome still helps other cases that may come up here. Justice was found for Ezra today.”
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.