Plea Deal Reached in Horse Neglect Case

5-4-04 - A woman accused of neglecting several dozen horses this year in Murray County has reached a plea agreement that will keep her out of jail. Prosecutors cut a deal with Barbara Knight Tuesday just before a preliminary hearing for charges of neglect.

Deputies say Knight originally had 52 horses in her care on 40 acres, but over the past few months, 13 died. That left 29 animals that were in what deputies called ‘terrible shape.’ They confiscated the horses in early March and arrested Knight.

The plea deal gives Knight a one year deferred sentence. Prosecutors say she got that deal because they believed she did not intentionally starve the horses but instead did not know how to properly take care of them. Part of the plea agreement calls for her to submit weekly horse feed receipts to the DA’s office as well as a monthly report by a court specified veterinarian that the horses are being kept in proper condition.

If knight fails to meet the demands of the court, prosecutors plan on trying her for animal cruelty, which carries a punishment of five years in prison.