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Ingraham trials bring equine cruelty to the fore

Published: 1/27/2011
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By Maddy Butcher Gray

You know that ad for the ASPCA?
Sarah McLachlan sings, “Arms of an Angel” while photos of abused and neglected pets roll.
It’s heartbreaking. I switch the channel.
You do, too, right?
Yet I’m asking you, Dear Reader, not to switch the channel on one of Maine’s largest cases of equine cruelty.  
This week, the State began the first of two trials stemming from the investigation and seizure of 15 horses and other animals from Brett and Alexis Ingraham.
Justice Michaela Murphy is hearing the civil case in which the burden is on the Ingrahams to prove the State should not maintain ownership and that they are capable of caring for the animals taken from Fair Play Farm in June.
Dr. Christine Fraser of the state’s Animal Welfare program has testified on the poor and neglected condition of the animals. CLICK HERE for article in the Morning Sentinel.

The criminal case for eight charges of animal cruelty for Brett and seven for Alexis is due to be heard in early March. The Ingraham’s attorney, David VanDyke, plans to call dozens of witnesses to testify on their behalf.

Last year, scores of witnesses submitted statements to Kennebec County District Attorney Evert Fowle about the Ingrahams’ despicable care. ("Care" being a misnomer here.)
Hundreds more aired their fears and frustrations about the abuse AND about Animal Welfare's slow, feeble response.

That was last summer.
Time has a way of dulling the outrage.
But rest assured: If the Ingrahams win back their horses and successfully defend themselves in the criminal case, they will continue to harm animals.
If the Ingrahams win back their horses and successfully defend themselves in the criminal case, they will continue to harm animals. Brett and Alexis fall into the group we like to call Incorrigibles.
They are not going to change.
If they are let off with anything else than a lifetime ban on animal ownership, one can reasonably predict the suffering will continue.

Please let District Attorney Fowle know how important this case is to you and the horse community at large. The Ingrahams need to be held accountable for the immense amount of suffering they have inflicted.

Kennebec Country District Attorney’s office, (207) 623-1156
District Attorney Evert Fowle: evert.fowle@maine.gov
Assistant District Attorney Paul Rucha: paul.rucha@maine.gov

View Reader Comments:

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1/27/2011 Carolyn Richens
That is a picture of Abby on this page. I have written to Attorney Fowle and have never heard from him as being called as a witness. I feel so frustrated that because I got Abbey BEFORE the actual seizure in June, that she will be forgotten. Its not fair! I and I know others just don't know what else to do. :(
1/27/2011
This is disgusting! I hate people that don't take care of their animals, I work a second job just to make sure I have the extra money in the savings account in case something does happen to one of my two horses. I know a couple other barns in maine that need to be looked at though too, it's just too bad that these animals have to deal with this, I thank god for the opportunity for being able to take care of my horses, and it's hard work, so people like this just make me sick! if they win, the state of maine is seriously in need of some help! its easy to see these animals are sick and starving, how ANYONE could allow these people to continue to own even a fish would be seriously messed up in the head
1/27/2011 Linda
I too am sick at what happened at Fair Play. I pray the State and District Attorney look at the pictures. The proof is there. Sores, bones showing, sick animals not being taken care of. I know one of the animals seized and she does not deserve what the Ingrahmas did to her. Also, I hope they keep tabs on the Burnham property.
1/28/2011
I have dealt with Fowle and I am not surprised that he did not get back to you. Fowle feels he is above the law. He was arrogant and tried to bully me. People need to bombard his office with calls and draw him into the lime light over this and make him realize what a horrific event that has happen not once but before and nothing was done. One needs to put pressure on the DA's office and make him do what is right. The Ingrahams' need to pay for the wrong they have done. These animals trusted them to take care of them and they straved them in return for the loyalty the horses showed the Ingrahams'. Then Ingrahams need to be put behind bars or the same fate as what these poor hores endured. I would hate to see the DA's office do nothing as they feel they are just a animal. This is wrong to strave and let a animal die for mistreatment.
1/29/2011 Cowgirl In Maine
Im deeply concerned that is si going to end up just like the other case where all they well get is a slap on the wrist, a couple fo small fines and drive home and pick up where they left off doing this to 100's of more horse's. After having all these animals taken from them they still continue to pick up more horses , sell horses advertise for boarding and rideing lessons , and hauling .. and on top of AL this when they get to drive to thier warm home with food on the table , other people who are doing near the same to thier horses feel its no big deal and so what if they get cought... they well go to court get a slap on the wrist and keep right on going , Buisness as usual ... I pray Paul LaPage puts better people in charge , people not AFRAID to uphold the laws... not afraid to step on some ones toes and get the job done properly !!!! when a friend of mines barn burned down a few years ago it was found it was set .. they cought the 2 boys and they was charged.. all the people of all the dozzens of horses that was killed in this fire told thier story , spoke of these animals not being jsut animals but part of thier families ,, the lawyers for those 2 boys looked the judge , the jury, and all in that court room in the eyes and said .. let us not forget it was nto like they killed a real person !!!!! Is not a life a life??? what these poeple (Ingrahams) have done is jsut as bad as those 2 boys if not worse , these horses was ( some did ) die a slow death .. painfull and unjust death .. I hope they get what they have coming ....
2/4/2011 Frederick.belliveau
R.I.P Momo... the greatest friend a guy can have... I'm sorry, but this is on my mind, I'm working on forgiving, but that will not happen till justice is served, not for us but for them, the horses... I have bin to this place, I have seen the horror.. its no joke... I bought a horse from there a "rescue" it took months to get her close to okay, and then she died... but the point is... these people deserve more then just a little tap on the wrist... the horse i had purchased had only bin there for a month... and she was in really bad shape... the other horse that was taken from there was given 2weeks to live by the vet if he was not taken out of there and taken care of, he is now in full health and a very happy guy. :) all this to say, you should put them in a cage and feed those asshole's 1 plate of food in between them a week, then maybe they would realize its not any fun for the horses when they fight about 50 in one field for 1 round bail... even the draft horses where ribby... do you know how hard it is to make a draft horse skinny??? these a criminals! killers! I believe they also need to go for a couple of psychological test, I do not think they are um let us say "all there". there should be a new law, cruelty or killing an animal should lead to prison time and no not 2-8 months make it 2-8 years! I'm sorry that I say all of this here, but Ive seen what they have done, are doing and will do, and it must be stopped... wow it's to bad I'm not the president of the United states of America! they would disappear, stored in a secret facility for the mentally retarded. well, if anybody wants to contact me for any reason, contact me via msn, hotmail or facebook. My horse died shortly after coming out of there, I do not blame them for it was an aneurysm, but she was an older mare with a dim sparkle in her eye, sweet and kind... all she needed was a good home... I tried my best and i believe it was good, but if only she would of had never bin there and suffered, she would of bin good. My biggest wish for the past year, is for them to go to jail, because there already on a first class ticket to hell...

   
"Practice sharpens, but overschooling blunts the edge. If your horse isn't doing right, the first place to look is yourself" - Joe Heim