Lind-Larsen will go to trial for animal cruelty charges
After three pretrials and months of delay, Redding resident Lisa Lind-Larsen, 75, will be going to trial to face two charges of animal cruelty after a judge declined her appeal for rehabilitation.
In July, Ms. Lind-Larsen’s mustang horses, Chinook and Cheyenne, were seized after the Department of Agriculture’s animal control division became aware of the animals’ malnourished state. The horses were shown to have been locked in unsanitary stalls for long periods with insufficient food and contaminated water.
Ms. Lind-Larsen’s appearance in court was preceded by last month’s pretrial closing on an appeal for accelerated rehabilitation, a program offered by some state criminal systems to give offending parties a “second chance” and avoid criminal charges. Ms. Lind-Larsen did not plead guilty nor was she convicted of any charges. The accelerated rehabilitation would function as a way to bypass a trial. Some programs can last up to two years. A key qualification is that the individual have no prior criminal history.
Ms. Lind-Larsen failed to meet that qualification. She faced a judge and assistant district attorney without any representation as she tried in vain to appeal for accelerated rehabilitation. Ms. Lind-Larsen has not had an attorney by her side in defense since she parted ways with Stephen Harding on Sept. 17. The two parted because she “didn’t feel comfortable with his representation.”
Deborah Mabbett, an assistant district attorney with the Judicial District of Danbury, brought to light Ms. Lind-Larsen’s ineligibility for accelerated rehabilitation by citing an outstanding criminal charge. “Regarding the appeal for accelerated rehabilitation, we find that the defendant is not eligible due to a charge from 1992,” Ms. Mabbett said.
The charge has since been cleared through a probationary program but because the charge still reflected a criminal record, Judge Susan Reynolds dismissed Ms. Lind-Larsen’s appeal.
The case will now go to trial as there is no longer an option for rehabilitation. The trial means that the courts will find a resolution to the charges against Ms. Lind-Larsen. Following the dismissal, Ms. Mabbett requested on behalf of Ms. Lind-Larsen “the longest continuance that your honor can give,” in order for the defendant to find an attorney and to wait for the outcome of a separate court case involving her horses. The continuance is a postponement of action until a later date. The period of waiting will give Ms. Lind-Larsen the time to prepare for trial.
“I am waiting for a decision to come down from another court regarding my horses,” Ms. Lind-Larsen said in seeking a continuance. The decision concerning the horses is pending a ruling by the Hartford civil suit.
The case will resume on Dec. 2. Until then, the status of Ms. Lind-Larsen’s horses, her defense, and criminal charges against her all remain unresolved.
The mustangs, Chinook and Cheyenne, were once wild horses before being rounded up in Nevada in 2002 and Utah in 2003. They are currently in the care of the state Department of Agriculture at a facility in Niantic.