by Diane Tuazon
MARTIN COUNTY - The Martin County Court House was empty within five minutes. That's because Jesus Manuel Alvarez, the man who allegedly left two horses malnourished chose not to show up in court, and now he could face time in jail.
"He was notified with the court date when we seized the horses. If they don't show up, they lose by default," Chief Deputy Ernest Wakefield said.
It all began almost two weeks ago when the Martin County Sheriff's Office seized two emaciated horses, and since Alvarez did not show up at court, the Animal Rescue Organization now has custody of the horses that were left in a desperate situation.
"The case was really bad. On a body scale, it ranked 1 which is the worst condition. Had they not reported the incident, the animals would not have been with us today," Melanie Gambrell, with the All Creatures Sanctuary and Rescue, said.
"In the time that I've been here, this is the worst case of animal cruelty in 15 years," Chief Wakefield said.
Melanie Gambrell has been rescuing animals for years and she says she can never understand why people neglect their animals leaving them to fight for their lives.
"It just breaks your heart. If you can't afford it, give them up to someone. There are organizations that will take them. Don't let it get to this point," Gambrell said.
After being rescued from horrible conditions, the two horses have since gained their weight back, and are looking at a brighter future ahead.
"We're looking forward to the end of this week. Hopefully both horses will be adopted by the end of the week and have a forever home," Gambrell said.
Jesus Manuel Alvarez is charged with Class A misdemeanor; which means he could either choose to pay a $4,000 fine or face up to a year in prison.