Cherokee County prosecutors turned over two horses Friday to an area boys' ranch after the animals were taken from their owner last summer.

District Attorney Richard L. Gray and Assistant District Attorney Nikki Baker Dotson, who negotiated the plea agreement with Regina Richards, gave the horses to the Circle of Care United Methodist Boys Ranch in Gore. Jason Charles, Mark Howard and John Cannon, ranch foreman, were in Tahlequah to transport the horses to the ranch.

“It is sad that an individual would abuse horses the way Regina Richards did. I am glad the horses will be used to help the boys ranch,” Gray said. “It is refreshing to see something positive coming from something so depressing.”

Richards pleaded guilty this week to cruelty to animals and was given a deferred three-year judgment, ordered to pay a $565 veterinarian bill, $250 in boarding fees and make a $250 contribution to the Humane Society of Cherokee County. The ranch cares for delinquent and deprived boys ages 13-18.

Representatives of the ranch accepted the horses and said they were pleased Gray’s office thought of them and offered the horses.

The horses were removed from Richards’ property in July during an investigation by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and have been cared for on other property. They were brought to Tahlequah Friday morning for the transfer to the boys ranch.

The horses were in an emaciated condition last summer when first observed by sheriff’s deputies. They appeared much healthier Friday.

Howard said the story between the horses and some of the boys at the ranch is similar.

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