Hillsborough County
David Gee, Sheriff
Tampa, FL
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    Release Number: 13-218

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Information Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • May 31, 2013
    • Contact Person:
    • Public Information Office : piooffice@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813/247-8060

    Second Arrest of Animal Cruelty Of A Horse

    The horse suffered malnutrition as well as severely overgrown hoofs.
    • Monday
    • April 1, 2013
    • Time: 12:00 AM
    • 6113 Ike Smith Road
    • Plant City, Florida


    Lynda Jo Vilches
    aka. Lynda Jo Willard
    DOB: 03/08/1960
    6113 Ike Smith Road
    Plant City, Florida


    • One Felony Count of Animal Cruelty (25 year old thoroughbred gelding)


    In April 2013, HCSO was notified of an abused horse that was previously acquired from Lynda Jo Vilches who resides at 6113 Ike Smith Road in Plant City. Detectives initiated an investigation and verified that a 25 year old thoroughbred named “Rusty” had been neglected.

    HCSO Agriculture detectives determined that while “Rusty” was under the care of Lynda Jo Vilches she deprived him of the proper nourishment by feeding him so little he suffered malnutrition amounting to excessive and unnecessary pain and suffering. In addition to the sever malnutrition, “Rusty's” left front fetlock was injured and left untreated as well as severely overgrown hoofs which would cause extreme pain and discomfort with each step the horse took.

    After consultation with a veterinarian, it was determined that there was no medical condition identified that would cause “Rusty” to be emaciated like he was other than malnutrition due to neglect. On April 24, 2013 “Rusty” had to be euthanized.

    On May 18, 2013 Lynda Vilches turned herself into the Hillsborough County Jail.
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