They were in court yesterday
Village seeks ownership of animals seized from farm
BY DENEEN SMITHdsmith@kenoshanews.com
David White and Paula Moctezuma-White appear in intake court on Tuesday afternoon. The village of Pleasant Prairie is seeking to take ownership of the live animals found on their farm so the animals can be adopted. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY SEAN KRAJACIC )
Pleasant Prairie is seeking a court order to give the village ownership of animals seized from a couple accused of starving horses to death.
Paula Moctezuma and David White made a brief appearance before a court commissioner Tuesday, where they were given additional time to find an attorney. Both told Court Commissioner Jon Mason they have been unable to find a lawyer to represent them.
Mason rescheduled their hearing to May 23 to give them additional time. If they have not found an attorney by then, he said, proceedings will move forward.
Moctezuma, 62, and White, 59, are charged with mistreatment of animals causing death. Pleasant Prairie Police searched the couple's farm April 9, responding to complaints of animal mistreatment, and found five dead horses, along with 23 horses who appeared to have been neglected. In a subsequent search, authorities found the remains of 55 additional dead horses, 12 dead goats and two dead cows.
Authorities also seized additional animals, including sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, geese, a peacock, rabbits and a bull.
As the criminal case moves forward, the village is seeking a court order to sever the couple's ties to the animals.
"We are attempting to petition the court to have the ownership of the animals transferred to the village so we can start adopting them out," said Pleasant Prairie Police Chief David Smetana.
For now, Smetana said, the village is covering the cost of care for the animals. Donations to Clawz and Pawz animal control and rescue, which is caring for most of the animals, is offsetting some of those costs, he said.
Melissa Melby of Clawz and Pawz said the horses seized from the farm include 16 ponies, three miniature horses, three draft horses and a Tennessee Walking Horse. [and a Clyde]
Smetana said, "We have no idea whether the order is going to be contested or whether the Whites" will relinquish ownership. They are scheduled to appear in court on this ownership issue June 6, he said.
People interested in donating toward the animals’ care, or volunteering to aid in their care, can contact Clawz and Pawz through the website www.clawzandpawz.info