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Owner of starving horse in Petaluma arrested

A Vacaville man whose starving horse was seized a year ago after Sonoma County Animal Control officers found it in a severely underweight condition has been jailed on a felony animal cruelty charge, authorities said Monday.

Larry Fred Kennedy, 49, was arrested Jan. 2, almost a year since his alleged mistreatment of the horse was first reported, authorities said.

The horse, which was boarded in Petaluma with two other horses under the care of someone else, was estimated to be 300 pounds underweight when he was brought to the attention of Animal Care and Control officials, according to a news release issued Monday by the county animal welfare agency and District Attorney's Office.

He also had an untreated penile infection which, if left unaddressed, could have caused "lots of problems," Supervising Animal Control Officer Brian Whipple said.

The horse, which was placed in the care of a local nonprofit group called CHANGE, "has made a dramatic recovery," Whipple said. "He's doing wonderful."

But it took some time to put together the criminal case, in part because Kennedy changed residences and was difficult to track down, he said.

Officials did not release the horse's age nor how long it had been boarded in Petaluma. It was clear from the extreme weight loss that the animal had been subject to an ongoing shortage of food and care, Whipple and others said.

The horse was seized Jan. 3, 2013, after someone alerted Animal Control, Whipple said. Kennedy was ultimately identified as the owner and was arrested earlier this month, with help from the Solano County Sheriff's Office. He remains jailed, with bail of $10,000.

Kennedy has been charged with felony cruelty neglect, authorities said. He has made two court appearances, but has yet to enter a plea, the District Attorney's Office said.

Kennedy is to appear in court again Feb. 4.


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