Crime & Courts

Gaston woman arrested, charged with abusing horses and ponies

A Gaston County woman has been accused by police of abusing 11 horses and two ponies on her property, police say.

Molly Cate, 26, of Crouse, was charged with 13 counts of failure to provide food and 13 counts of failure to provide proper veterinary care, according to Gaston County police’s Animal Control Division.

Police say Cate has been investigated in the past for possible animal cruelty, dating back to November 2010. She was visited by Animal Control officers on Dec. 10, police say, and was cited for violations that time.

Capt. Bill Melton of the Gaston County police said officers found 17 sick horses and two dogs with invalid vaccination records during that December visit. A veterinarian treated the horses that day, but Melton said Cate did not follow recommendations made by a veterinarian.

Officers returned to her property Tuesday in the 300 block of Hephzibah Church Road and said they found animals suffering from what Melton said where “neglect and cruelty.” Police confiscated 10 horses and two miniature ponies, then returned Wednesday and seized a horse that was found with a laceration on a rear leg.

All of the charges against Cate are misdemeanors. She was released on $26,000 bond, according to Gaston County jail records.