Veterinary Student Accused of Selling Horses to Slaughterhouses for Meat
An Alabama veterinary student faces charges after horses she offered to board apparently vanished — and former owners and a sheriff believe she sold the animals to slaughterhouses for meat.
Fallon Danielle Blackwood, 24, who attends Tuskegee University, was arrested last weekend after being indicted on 13 counts of bringing property obtained under false pretenses into Alabama, Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey tells PEOPLE.
According to Casey, Blackwood offered to “re-home horses” for owners who could no longer care for them. But when the owners tried to check in on their horses, they discovered “that wasn’t what was taking place,” says Casey, who adds that the 13 horses specified in the indictment are now likely dead.
Owner Lindsay Rosentrater told Al.com that Blackwood agreed to board her horse, but that when she later asked for a photo of the animal, “she wouldn’t send me one. I asked her repeatedly.”
Rosentrater told the outlet that after investigating Blackwood online, she discovered the student had been flagged by rescue groups for allegedly “doing business with kill-buyers.”
“We have pretty strong indications [her horse] did get shipped into Mexico for slaughter,’’ Rosentrater told the outlet.
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Lisa Rudolph, another owner who said she entrusted her horse to Blackwood, told Fox 5 Atlanta, “They suffered a death that they didn’t deserve,” adding, “I think they were slaughtered.”
Court documents obtained by WHNT state Blackwood was arrested last April in Macon County, Alabama, on an outstanding warrant for similar charges in North Carolina. PEOPLE was unable to obtain specific information on those charges.
At the time, Macon County sheriff Andre Brunson told WHNT owners of the horses involved in the charges were upset. “Thinking their horses were living their life out and then to find out they were slaughtered for different purposes, so it’s just a bad case,” he said.
When asked by PEOPLE if Blount County authorities believe Blackwood sold the horses to Mexican slaughterhouses, Casey declined comment, citing her reluctance to discuss the specifics of the allegations.
“I would be absolutely devastated if I was in a situation where I needed to rehome an animal and something like this happened,” Casey said.
Blackwood was released from the Blount County Jail after posting $15,000 bond and returned to veterinary school, Al.com reports.
A spokesman for Tuskegee University tells PEOPLE the school is prohibited from commenting on student enrollment status while the charges are pending.
It was not immediately clear if Blackwood has entered a plea to the charges in Blount County or retained an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
The disposition of the charges against Blackwood in North Carolina was not immediately clear.