SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - A Suffolk couple says a Portsmouth police officer starved a former police horse to death.
Suffolk animal control has turned the case over to the Commonwealth's Attorney, who will decide whether to press charges. Portsmouth police are conducting an internal investigation into the matter.
The horse named 'Amy' was a 14-year veteran of Portsmouth Police's mounted patrol. During that time, she was happy, healthy and housed at the police stable.
Amy retired in 2009. She was adopted by a Portsmouth police officer and moved to his home in Suffolk. Four years later she changed hands again, when the officer gave her to police stable manager Debra Kelly.
When Debra Kelly and her husband David saw Amy, they were floored.
"What we found was a horse that was starved to death," said David Kelly. "You could see her heart beating in her chest. She was just...gone."
The couple says they adopted Amy in March of 2013 in an attempt to save her life. The stable they built behind their home houses six horses, two of them are rescues and two are former Portsmouth police horses. Amy lived there too, but she only lived for two weeks.
Invoices show the veterinarian came to the stable four times in those two weeks. In a letter, the doctor states the horse did not have enough muscle mass or energy to stand. He says Amy's condition was the result of "long term starvation in the hands of the previous owner."
The last time the vet visited he made the decision to euthanize Amy to stop her suffering.
"The way it was explained to me by the vet was that she was so far gone that her body was eating itself," said David Kelly. "She was getting better, but her heart couldn't take it."
Veterinarian records show Amy had a heart murmur her entire life.
The Kelly's came forward to Debra's command with the information in May.
Soon after, Debra resigned from her position as stable manager. The Kelly's say the officer who originally adopted Amy is still on the job and working with police animals.
Their worry is another animal may suffer the same fate.
"Somebody needs to be held accountable." said David Kelly.
WAVY.com did not name the police officer who originally adopted Amy because he does not currently face charges.
He could not be reached for comment.
Suffolk's Commonwealth's Attorney will decide if the officer will be charged.
Stay with WAVY News 10 and WAVY.com for updates on this developing story.
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