For Lisa Reynolds, her horse Cocoa and mini mule Tibby were family. Cocoa had been with her for 17 years, and Tibby for 11.
Reynolds is an attorney and needed someone to temporarily board Tibby and Cocoa during her move from Georgia to Florida. She found vet student Fallon Blackwood on Facebook and says Blackwood explained that she needed a pasture mate for her barrel horse.
But now, Cocoa and Tibby are among 50 animals that went missing after owners say they turned them over to the 23-year-old for adoption or boarding. So far she is only charged in one case. But an online stolen horse clearinghouse, Netposse.com, documents reports from more than 30 horse owners in 5 states.
Blackwood refused to answer questions after her arrest in Georgia earlier this year.
One victim recognized her missing Arabians on a Facebook video of a horse sale in Louisana. For many, it's the last stop before being trucked to Mexico where horses are slaughtered for their meat.
In Plant City, Teresa Leto works with an Arabian rescue group who bought several of the horses before they could be shipped out. Aside from a handful of rescues many of the owners still have no idea just what happened to their animals.
Blackwood is charged in connection with one of the cases in North Carolina. She is set for a hearing later this month.