A horse trainer at White Birch Farm in Portland is facing over a dozen animal cruelty charges after abuse was brought to light by multiple patrons, according to court documents.
Officials said 30-year-old Alexis Wall, of East Hampton, worked with many horses at the farm. Court documents show that Portland Animal Control received an anonymous letter in May stating that animals were being abused at the farm.
About a week later, animal control officers received another complaint regarding possible animal cruelty at the farm. The woman who made the complaint told officials that she boarded her horse at the farm between Dec. 2021 and May. During that time, she said she witnessed Wall subject horses to cruel punishments such as withholding food and water, tying them up for long periods of time, excessive use of spurs, and being ridden hard for long periods of time, according to the court documents.
The woman told officials that her horse changed once Wall began working with him. She explained that her horse was routinely tied up for multiple hours at a time and not provided access to food or water. Court documents say that the woman began to notice cuts and injuries to her horse. When she asked Wall about a cut on the horse's hip and whether or not they were hurt, she said "No she ain't listening so I have to make it painful so she will listen," officials said.
According to court documents, an animal control officer responded to the farm on Sand Hill Road. A woman that was boarding their horse told the officer that she also saw the same alleged cruel behavior. She told police that she saw more than one horse bleeding from the mouth after being ridden or having their head tied tightly to the saddle, being whipped excessively.
The woman later filed a statement claiming that she saw two horses training with Wall panic and fall down while being left tied to a wall for a long period of time. She also said that some of the horses weren't given food or water after training, court documents show.
On one occasion, the woman told officials that she saw blood in the corner of a horse's mouth. In an alleged conversation with the woman, Wall said she didn't like a horse's behavior so she "took his head and slammed it into the wall" and when the horse didn't respond the way she wanted, she "slammed him again," according to authorities.
When the officer was able to make contact with the farm owner, she confirmed that Wall was employed as a trainer and that she is a "true Vaquero," signifying that you needed to have a specific philosophy to understand the training methods used by her. The Spanish word means cowboy or cattle driver, officials said.
When asked about the long hours without access to water, the owner told police that they were not left that long, documents show. She's accused of riding horses into other horses and using whips on them, as well. Several other reports were filed against Wall and her treatment of the horses at the farm.
Wall faces charges including 20 counts of animal cruelty. Specifically, this includes overworking, failure to provide proper drink, mutilating or cruelly beating an animal, and torture, according to court documents.
NBC Connecticut has reached out to White Birch Farm for comment but has not yet heard back.
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