- Associated Press - Saturday, June 8, 2019

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) - A Florida veterinarian has been convicted of animal cruelty and abandonment charges for what prosecutors said was abuse of her miniature horses.

The Lakeland Ledger reports that 68-year-old Gail Nichols faces up to five years on prison after a jury convicted her late Thursday. Evidence showed the horses were malnourished, infested with parasites and had hooves so overgrown the animals had difficulty walking.

Nichols claimed on the witness stand that the horses were born with deformed hooves, were not in pain and that their conditions were unavoidable.

Authorities seized 28 miniature horses, two full-sized horses, eight dogs and two birds after Nichols and her husband were arrested in 2017 at their Polk County property. The husband is set to stand trial later on similar charges.

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