New Hanover County horse neglect case continued in court for 6th time

New Hanover County horse neglect case continued in court for 6th time

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - After seven months and six continuances, Judge Sandra Ray told the court Thursday it would be the last delay.

Robert and Judy Woody and their daughter, Sarah Woody, are facing misdemeanor charges of animal neglect after several emaciated horses were found on their property in July 2019.

The case has been stalled almost monthly for various paperwork and other legal issues.

According to the district attorney’s office, Robert and Judy Woody most recently asked for a public defender. Sarah Woody has retained private legal counsel.

Lt. Jerry Brewer says the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department Animal Services Unit is hoping to receive restitution payments for the initial bills associated with the horses’ care, which total about $4,000.

Five of the horses were surrendered to Penderosa Rescue and Sanctuary, which accepted financial responsibility for their care thereafter.

The total cost of the horses’ care to date has not been made public.

Marguerite Ayers is an animal advocate and part of what she describes as a 'tight knit equine community in southeastern North Carolina."

“These horses need justice and that’s why we sit in the court room every single time there’s a court date," she said. "We feel like at this point we are the voices for these horses that had no voice.”

Ayers says an average horse costs roughly $300/month to feed, and guesses the total care for the emaciated horses is in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The next court date is March 12. While Judge Ray said she would not entertain another delay, the district attorney’s office says its too soon to say whether Judge Ray will be on the bench for that date.

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