The case leading up to the arrest of Lynda Jo Vilches, also known as Lynda Jo Willard, started in April, when investigators looked into a tip that a horse had been suffering from abuse.
On May 18, Vilches reportedly turned herself in to the Hillsborough County Jail. A felony count of animal cruelty has been lodged. According to the sheriff's report, released May 31, agriculture detectives "determined that while 'Rusty' was under the care of Lynda Jo Vilches, she deprived him of the proper nourishment by feeding him so little he suffered malnutrition amounting to excessive and unnecessary pain and suffering."
In addition, the horse's "left front fetlock was injured and left untreated."
The report further notes that Rusty had "severely overgrown hoofs, which would cause extreme pain and discomfort with each step the horse took.
"Detectives consulted with a veterinarian, and "it was determined that there was no medical condition identified that would cause 'Rusty' to be emaciated like he was other than malnutrition due to neglect."
On April 24, euthanasia ceased Rusty's life — and suffering, according to the sheriff's report.