Law Enforcement

Horse starver sentenced to animal care service

By Tim Omarzu - Fri, Jun 12, 1998

On March 13, Cheryl Lynn Taylor called the Nevada County Sheriff's Department to complain someone had stolen a horse from the 10 acres near McCourtney Road where she lives.

A loose-knit organization called HorseAid took credit, saying it had "rescued" the emaciated mare, fearing it might starve.

On Thursday, Taylor was sentenced to 300 hours of community service at an animal shelter or other nonprofit organization in Nevada County that benefits animals.

Taylor pleaded no contest to charges of failing to care for "Chiquita," the horse taken by HorseAid, and "Dusty," a horse whose emaciated carcass was found in February at Taylor's property.

Along with community service, Superior Court Judge Kathleen Butz gave Taylor two years' probation and 10 days suspended jail time. If Taylor fails to finish community service by April 15, she'll spend the uncompleted hours in jail, plus the 10 days' suspended sentence.

"If you do not perform to the terms of probation, you will do jail time. I want to make this real clear," said Butz.

The Nevada County District Attorney's office had asked Butz to sentence Taylor to a mandatory 10 days in jail and 200 hours of community service.

"I thought she should serve some jail time. The court made it clear it was giving her one chance," said Deputy District Attorney Julie McManus.

Butz declined to comment on the sentence, since a case is pending against co-defendant Charles Murray Taylor, Taylor's estranged husband. He faces trial July 7 on charges of animal cruelty and neglect.

"I can't speak for the court, but my thoughts are (Butz) considered Mrs. Taylor's lack of a prior record, her status as a single mother of two children, and concluded that justice could best be served by having the mother contribute a substantial amount of time for the benefit of animals, rather than just sitting in jail," McManus said.

Shortly after Chiquita was "rescued," the Taylors, a divorcing couple who have mutual restraining orders against each other, blamed each other for not feeding their three horses, two of which died. There wasn't enough evidence to file charges for the first horse that died, McManus said.