Nov. 1, 2011 — For several weeks now, the paper has been writing a story on a horrifying situation brewing at the horse stable, Whispering Pines, located of Highway 36, outside of Susanville.
Rumors abounded that the owner Dwight Bennett was not feeding dozens of horses and worse yet left two dozen to die.
Unfortunately, gathering information for the story and wading through the facts and fiction of the alleged animal cruelty took time.
It just didn’t seem implausible Bennett was not cited for animal neglect or the horses had not been removed from his property prior to April 2011.
The reports, stories, emails and phone calls left the paper with more questions than answers.
In the end, we wrote two stories that let the readers know the story as best as we could.
Website comments blossomed, keeping the story alive.
Lassennews.com is a great forum for readers to give or offer opinions on any story placed on the Web.
Last week the Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon and his deputies had enough evidence to arrest Bennett on 30 counts of felony animal cruelty.
While at the ranch, they also found a significant amount of methamphetamine.
To our knowledge Bennett is still in custody.
District Attorney Bob Burns has charged Bennett with 70 counts of animal cruelty and bail was set at $252,000.
To some it seems like it has taken a long time for justice to be served.
Rumors have circulated for a long time that Whispering Pines was not a decent place for horses.
However, depending on whom we talked to, the opinion on Bennett and his ranch varied.
Some think the DA should go further in his prosecution of Bennett for things he allegedly did or for things the state of California allowed him to do.
We don’t like knowing any animal was abused or died from the abuse.
We want the alleged abuser to be held accountable for his actions.
However, we are grateful to our law enforcement agents and our district attorney for making sure there was sufficient evidence to make the arrest and proceed with prosecution.
A man is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by a jury of his peers.
It will be interesting to see how the court proceedings play out on this case, which is already getting national attention from every animal rights group.
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