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DA Fowle asks for evidence at Fair Play

Published: 3/11/2010
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By Maddy Butcher Gray

District Attorney Evert Fowle and his top two prosecutors met with several concerned individuals this week at his office in Augusta to discuss the situation at Fair Play Farm in Clinton.
Fowle is the DA for Kennebec and Somerset counties and he was joined by Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelly and Assistant District Attorney Paul Rucha.
In other words, this story of horse abuse and neglect at the hands of Alexis and Brett Ingraham has gotten their attention!
Several long-time equine advocates told me This meeting was unprecedented and spoke volumes regarding the DA office’s attentiveness and concern. this meeting was unprecedented and spoke volumes regarding the DA office’s attentiveness and concern.

I spoke with District Attorney Fowle after the meeting and he asked anyone with knowledge of animal cruelty at Fair Play Farm to submit evidence to his office and to Dr. Christine Fraser at Animal Welfare.
NickerNews would be happy to submit evidence on readers’ behalf.
Here are some guidelines:
Present your story in a factual manner. If you have photos or vet records, please include them. Try to establish a time line for events and specific horse conditions.

Here’s an example: You might know of a horse who arrived at FPF in good condition. Then some time later, the horse’s health declined. Then, you bought the horse or know someone who bought the horse to remove it from harm.
Good account but here is what would make it great:
-  A specific timeline of arrival, departure, and horse condition throughout those times.
-  Photos to support this timeline.
-  Vet records, sales receipts, or other documents to support the account.

To submit evidence or ask any questions, please contact NickerNews.
District Attorney Fowle can be reached at OR (207) 623-1156.

Fowle knows the horse community is a frustrated, exasperated bunch at this point.
“I understand the passion and emotion,” Fowle said. “But what’s going to do it for us is evidence and facts.”
“I understand the passion and emotion,” he said. “But what’s going to do it for us is evidence and facts.”

Once the prosecution ball starts rolling, there is no do-over. One can’t charge someone with animal cruelty and then tweak the charges as the case proceeds. His team needs to take the time to review every spec of evidence and build a solid case BEFORE they charge anyone.

Maine courts have seen their share of successful, criminal animal cruelty cases. Not too long ago, one man did prison time for strangling a puppy. Another did time for running over his girlfriend’s kitten.

The case for animal cruelty at Fair Play Farm is, in comparison, more challenging. Where those cases played out in black and white, the Ingraham's behavior is slight more subtle and grey. (If animal cruelty can be subtle!)
There is no one bold and glaring act of animal cruelty, at least not one documented so far. It’s up to those who have witnessed and who have had encounters with the Ingrahams to come forward and present their stories.


View Reader Comments:

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3/11/2010 Suzanne
This is good news for the horses!!
3/11/2010 Hannah Judson
Bravo Maddy G.
3/11/2010 Jan
Yippeeee!!!! 'We' have been heard. Thanks Maddy for the update ... And a BIG thanks to Marilyn, Meris and Janet!!!!
3/11/2010 Cynthia Schif
I can understand that in the common avenues of our legal system, they have weeks, months, and even years to put together a case of facts. Unfortunately the tragedy is there are living, breathing animals that are SUFFERING while Mr. Fowle follows the letter of the law. What I find astounding is that the county in question has no arm of the ASPCA, who can put a case together in hours or days, instead of weeks....this has been WEEKS, people! How would you like to sit and starve, suffer pain and have no one listen to your calls? I think we've lost our minds here, in the consideration of evidence to the letter of the law. If it were my county, I'd be organizing groups to picket Mr. Fowle's office until justice has been served. Call EVERY media outlet and newspaper and embarrass the office into action! My message to Mr. Fowle is this: Use your EYES, and you'll have a case that cannot be denied. I rest MY case.
3/11/2010 Lisa
Thank you Maddy. Great job from the Maine horse community...let's keep the ball rolling...on fire of course:)
3/11/2010 Becky
My info is so old, 2002, but I sent it just the same, maybe it will help show a pattern, anything to help. I hope something positive comes out of this and some horses will be helped! Thanks for staying on top of things Maddy!
3/11/2010 Margy
This is wonderful news. Working on getting information together. Thank you Maddy!
3/11/2010 K
That county has an Animal Control officer. Problem is, his family is guilty of the same things the Ingraham's are. Ask around. I'm sure there is plenty of proof. This ACO turned a blind eye at what their own family did to horses, I doubt that person truly even cares. Why they took the job in the first place, I'll never understand.
3/11/2010 Kim Cheney
FINALLY someone is listening to the cries of the animals....KUDOS
3/12/2010 Sherri
In order to have a truly successful prosecution you must have evidence not just emotional sayso, that is called hearsay and is not admissable in Maine courts. Please have patience. The law is complicated and the long range goal is to keep this from happening to other horses. The action Nicker News has taken is helping those horses effected presently. Picketing only shows the emotional "gut" side of a deeply caring and intelligent group of horse folks. Things covered by the news media get your blood pressure up for a few moments in time but the hard tangible stuff is what makes the real change.
3/13/2010 Chris
Whats the latest news on these babies???
3/14/2010 Margy
I don't think we are going to get much more "public" news with an investigation going on through the DA's office. And that is how it should be we don't want the case blown.
3/15/2010 Damon
Good, I heard she was shipping them out to Canada!!! is that true ???
3/25/2010 dana
in april the animal control officers association meets, in attendence will be the state prosecuters office and norma whorley head of the maine animal welfare program,expect that many ACO's will seriosly confront these officers in thier lack of action taken against fiarplay farm inspite of the mountain of evidence presented to them allready. many ACO,s will be asking norma inspite of her impecable record to step down from her position and asking the district attouney to file charges of "dereliction of duty" against her.her lack of action has been a clear insult to the law,the animal control officers of this state, and the welfare of animals in maine, furthermore has set a presedence for the lack of concern of animal cruelty umungst ACO's, i will post the results of that meeting
3/25/2010 Joy
I took a horse in last week who also fell through the cracks in the AWP here in Maine. Two weeks prior to his owners surrendering him to me he was seen by one of Norma's agents. That agent didn't think he looked "that" bad, told the owners that this must have been a mistake on the part of those who complained and said to them "case closed". Two weeks after that visit my vet rated him a 2 on the Henneke scale, he was heaving badly and is now blind in one eye due to an injury that was not cared for. This injury was present when she was there. It would not have cost the State of Maine ONE PENNY to have the owners have that horse seen by a vet and report back to the agent with the findings!! He is still touch and go right now; may or may not make it because his lungs are basically toast. Norma's agents are NOT trained to deal with horses..this is becoming more and more evident all the time. Something else that I learned through all of this is that in the last month two part-time agents were in the Bangor area and one in Aroostook County....better late than never BUT our new agent fully admitted to me that she does not have a clue about horses...NONE! It's definately time for a total revamping of that department. Start at the top and keep on shoveling!!
3/25/2010 Kevin Upton
Dana: Come see me at the ACO meeting in April. I would like to know where you got this idea. Norma Worley(correct spelling) and ADA Gordon are there at my invitation to teach classes. Thank You Kevin Upton President Maine Animal Control Officers Association
3/29/2010 Joy
Sadly, I have to report that the horse that I took in last week had to be euthanized this morning. The damage to his lungs from non-treatment on the part of his owners was just far too extensive for his body to come back from. He suffered a long time with all of this and is finally at rest..No thanks to the Maine AWP who "thought he didn't look that bad"....RIP buddy...I did all that I could.
4/20/2010 Dan
This mess started w/previous owner and has ended up like this, time to shut them down or at least school them in the proper care of horses, sick or not.
6/14/2010 Lee
This is what I'm talking about. Thanks for laying out the guidelines for the evidence. This is better reporting. I also noticed that you state that the prospective charges are more subtle and grey in this case. That's precisely why the DA is asking for all of this proof before going forward. See, it's not such an open and shut case as everyone seems to think!

"An owner of a Tennessee Walking Horse once said that his horse reminded him of a lightning rod, for, as he rode, all the sorrows of his heart flowed down through the splendid muscles of his horse and were grounded in the earth." - Marguerite Henry