Fifty-four-year-old Penny Whitehouse turned herself in at the Macon County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday, February 11, after local authorities discovered ten horse carcasses and one dead donkey on the 20+ acre, Taurus Farm Road property she formerly inhabited.
According to Macon County Sheriff Mark Gammons, Macon County Animal Control Officer Corey Lawrence was contacted by a family that was walking the property, which is currently for sale. While touring the grounds, the family reported that they discovered dead horses laying everywhere.
Lawrence found that there was no food or hay located on the property, and a UT Extension agent confirmed that the animals suffered from neglect and malnutrition.
“A warrant was issued for Miss Whitehouse’s arrest for 11 counts of animal cruelty,” Sheriff Gammons stated. “She turned herself in Wednesday night around 9 p.m.”
During their investigation, detectives discovered that Whitehouse had also been charged with animal cruelty in Michigan and Indiana and is prohibited from owning animals in both states.
“Miss Whitehouse presents herself as an animal rescue operator,” said the sheriff. “She is suspected to have been living in Rutherford County, where we believe she was starting up another ‘animal rescue’ operation.”
Whitehouse made bail (set at $11,000) and is scheduled to appear in Macon County General Sessions Court on February 25, 2015 at 9 a.m.
Authorities are currently working to get the bodies of the eleven deceased animals properly disposed of.
Sheriff Gammons warns those who are thinking about placing an animal in a rescue center to do their research.
“Look into these places, ask local authorities about them and check out the conditions to make sure they’re legit,” he stated.