Two Arrested In Horse Abuse Case

Thursday, May 10th 2007, 8:55 am
By: News On 6

There’s new information about a horse abuse investigation in Tulsa County. The News On 6 spoke with Roberta Christian, the woman accused of mistreating her horses. Deputies seized all two dozen horses that she and her husband own on Wednesday. They also said there was so much manure in some of the stalls that they had to pry the gates open to get the horses out. News On 6 reporter Steve Berg spoke with Christian at the Tulsa County Jail on Thursday. He reports Christian is facing 13 counts of animal cruelty.

Roberta Christian told us again, as she did Wednesday night, about the ice storm that damaged her barn. She also told us about financial troubles and trouble with her husband that apparently contributed to her problem.

Talking with us in an interview room at the Tulsa County Jail, Christian said the damage to her and her husband's largest, newest barn in January's ice storm was a big factor in the horses' condition. She told us that it "…set in motion a huge difficulty of trying to manage (the horses)."

But there were apparently problems before that. She says her husband, Darrell, had lost a good paying job in 2001, and was out of work for a year-and-a-half and that his next job didn't pay nearly as well. She also says she believed her husband had made arrangements to move the horses to a different property, since their good barn was damaged. Christian says she learned last month that he had not done that, and she accused him of lying to her.

Tulsa County Deputy David Long has had contact with the Christians at the time of the barn collapse and since. And he investigated this case. He says whatever their circumstances, they had better options.

"You can sell them, you can give them to rescues, you can foster them, they can go to riding. I mean, there's a lot of things that can be done," Tulsa County Deputy David Long said.

Mr. Christian did not want to talk to us on camera on Thursday. Mrs. Christian was actually not aware that he had also been arrested.

The main question in the case is why didn't she sell the horses? She said she didn't want to because they were like her children.

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