Charges filed over donkey with halter embedded in flesh

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Teresa Pollock, the owner of a donkey that was found with a halter embedded in its flesh, was charged with animal cruelty and ordered to pay restitution.

Pollock did not enter a plea because she planned to apply for judicial diversion. If that diversion is granted, Pollock will plead guilty and receive a suspended sentence or probationary period of 11 months and 29 days.

She was also ordered to pay court costs, $2,636.29 in restitution to University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center, and undergo random checks by the sheriff's office or animal control.

Investigators said her two-year-old donkey was on the loose and suffering a serious injury when it was picked up by Knox County animal control on February 27. Jamie Padgett told Local 8 News she reported the situation to police.

"Sometimes we would see the animal on our property," said Jamie Padgett. "I could smell his injuries from 15 to 25 feet away. Everything raced through my mind. I wanted to help, but there was nothing I could do safely except make a phone call."

The animal underwent surgery at University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center before moving to Horse Haven of Tennessee for continued care, where he's now known as Mr. Jones.

"We've been practicing on face touching just a touch," said the organization's operations manager Stephanie Solomon. "He's getting a lot better. We apply medication to his head once a day."

Solomon said the halter the animal was found with hadn't been loosened since it was applied when the donkey was seven months old.

"It's the worst embedded halter I've ever seen, and I've seen quite a few," said Solomon. "The wound itself was almost four and a half inches deep, that's how far the halter was in there."

Horse Haven told Local 8 News the animal's owner signed over rights to the organization so it could receive proper medical care.