PLEASANT PRAIRIE (WITI) -- Dozens of animals seized from a Pleasant Prairie farm could be one step closer to adoption. Their future may be decided before their owners'.
David White and Paula Moctezuma told a judge on Thursday, May 23rd, that they have not yet found a lawyer but are in the final steps of obtaining counsel.
White and Moctezuma are facing felony animal mistreatment charges after 24 horses and several other animals were taken from their farm. Officials later found a mass grave of 55 other horses on their property.
Robert Melby of Clawz and Pawz has been overseeing the animals' care and wants them made available for adoption.
"The quicker it happens to where they get somewhere where it's stable, just like a child they need consistency," said Melby.
Pleasant Prairie police say adoption could be on the horizon. White and Moctezuma have been told to appear at a hearing on June 6th to decide whether the village can take possession of the animals, then oversee the adoption process.
Safe Harbor Humane Society took the couple's dog, cats and rabbits. Their adoptions are also on hold until the court resolves the issue.
Caretakers of all the animals report health improvements, including weight gain particularly among the horses.
"We're almost to the point where a few of them, I'm thinking about putting them on a diet, ha. They're getting to where they look very normal," said Melby.
Although the couple doesn't have an attorney, they are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 12th. If convicted they face up to three and a half years in prison and $10,000 in fines.