Tuesday Nov 01 2011
Accused animal abuser facing more charges
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
Dwight Bennett remains in jail in lieu of $250,000 bail
The man reportedly responsible for abusing and neglecting dozens of horses now faces additional charges. The Lassen County District Attorney’s office has charged Dwight Bennett with 70 counts of animal cruelty. Bennett, who owns the Susanville ranch, Whispering Pines, was arrested Oct. 25 and initially charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty. DA officials said Tuesday that Bennett remains in custody in lieu of $250,000 bail. The Grace Foundation in El Dorado Hills has rescued about 50 of the equine in the past few months. The remains of 28 horses and three dogs were found at the property in “various states of decomposition and may range from recent to many years old,” according to a prior press release from the DA’s office. Initial news of Bennett’s arrest pleased Grace Founder Beth DeCaprio. She said Oct. 25 was one of the “best days.” “We have been tortured b y this case and I am so happy to see that justice is prevailing.” In May, 20 horses were rescued from the Susanville ranch and 36 more were taken into protective custody in August. The horses were stunted from a lack of nutrients after not being fed or watered for some time, according to authorities. In August, Grace took 36 horses into protective custody in addition to 20 horses it retrieved from the property in May. Volunteers also picked up some dogs, goats and mules at the site. Bennett, owner of the Whispering Pines ranch in Susanville, reportedly lost his home and was no longer financially capable of caring for the horses that were left to die. The Grace Foundation, whose mission it is to rescue and rehabilitate abused and neglected horses as well as other animals, has taken in more than 210 animals since January.