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Florida Veterinarian Faces Animal Cruelty Charges

Gail Nichols, DVM, and her husband, Paul Smith, are facing charges after 30 horses were seized from their property.

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A Florida veterinarian and her husband are facing multiple animal cruelty charges after law enforcement authorities seized 30 horses from their Lakeland property.

A written statement from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said agricultural crimes detectives responded to a tip on Aug. 17 about several malnourished animals residing on property owned by Gail Nichols, DVM, and her husband, Paul Craig Smith. Upon arrival investigators found 28 Miniature and two full-size horses residing on dirt pastures without access to hay, grass, or water. A veterinary investigation revealed that three horses had severely overgrown hooves, including one with one overgrown hoof facing backward and one facing forward. Another horse was only able to walk on three legs after sustaining an unrelated injury.

All the horses appeared emaciated and in poor health, the statement said.

The horses were subsequently removed to the Polk County Animal Control facility, where three Miniature Horses were euthanized due to their condition, the statement

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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