Solstice Pecile, 24, was absent from the proceedings when her lawyer issued a guilty plea on her behalf via virtual teleconference in an Ontario provincial courthouse on September 13.
Pecile was charged under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act nearly one year ago after she caused distress to a horse named Ezra. She was issued a $2,500 fine and is prohibited from taking care of any horse for five years, including a two-year non-reporting probationary period.
But the probation only applies in Ontario, and Pecile has since fled to Alberta, allegedly due “death threats” she received after the torturous video went viral.
Video footage filmed and posted by Pecile, who resided in the municipality of Port Hope at the time, showed Ezra being dragged behind a truck with blood visibly gushing from her hooves. Additional video footage shows Pecile calling the injured horse expletives thereafter.
Addressing the small Cobourg courtroom, Justice Jack LeBlanc stated that Pecile, as a trainer, “should have known better.”
Despite her conducting a “training experiment” that involved dragging a horse behind a vehicle, Justice LeBlanc concluded that Pecile “showed remorse and made efforts to remedy the injury.”
Emily Reardon, Ezra’s original owner and ultimate rescuer, audibly gasped during Pecile’s sentencing.
“It’s disheartening,” said Reardon standing outside of the provincial courthouse. “I’m glad that we had a guilty plea and that the court saw what she did as wrong, but she’s moved on and she's no longer in the province where it applies and she can do whatever she wants anywhere else and it’s sad.”
While “there’s no evidence” that veterinary care was provided to Ezra after the injury, “her feet were wrapped,” confirms Reardon.
“It’s a two-dollar roll from a store, anybody can wrap a foot,” she says. “It’s not necessarily an indicator that proper vet treatment was sought out.”
Reardon says it has taken a lot of time to get Ezra out of her shell with the help of a certified behaviourist to “help work through some of the trauma that she’s experienced,” but she’s in good hands now.