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Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Sentence delivered in horse abuse case

by Bruce Smith
  Donna Gale, horses "caretaker", and sister of horses' owner, Lisa Gale.
Photo KOMO 4 News

Donna Gale, convicted last month on two counts of 2nd degree animal cruelty for her roll in the 2008 Waller Rd. horse abuse case, has been sentenced. 

Ms. Gale received a prison term of one day for each count to run consecutively, resulting in a total of two days of incarceration.  Plus, she received a $1,000 fine and a prohibition from owning a horse for two years.

Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor Robert Yu said that other aspects of her sentencing have been suspended on the condition of Gale maintaining law-biding behavior and having no similar incidents with the court for two years.

Mr. Yu told the Dispatch that the court gave Gale a lenient sentence because of her lack of a criminal history.

Nevertheless, it is reported that Gale was not actually imprisoned at the Pierce County jail because it was over-crowded.  According to Rose Corey , a key witness for the prosecution and a keen observer of the proceedings, Ms. Gale had to merely show up at the jail under an agreement called "day reporting" in order to get credit for her jail time.

In addition, Ms. Corey said that County officials had told her that court room testimony, which indicated Ms. Gale was suffering from serious diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, also steered the court towards leniency.

However, some were surprised with the light sentencing.

Diana Martin, a key witness for the prosecution and a woman who had been fighting for over a year to get help for the afflicted horses, was reportedly very upset with the light sentence.

Rose Corey says she has mixed feelings.

"Yes, I think Donna Gale received a lenient sentence," Ms. Corey said, "particularly when you think of the suffering that the horses went through.  But, things are better for abused and neglected horses in the County now, because of this case, like the Equine Rescue Network that Animal Control has established, so, some good has come out of it."

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