White, Moctezuma still haven't found a lawyer in animal cruelty case

PLEASANT PRAIRIE (WITI) -- A couple accused of starving their horses to death returned to court on Thursday, May 23rd -- and again left without any progress.

David White and Paula Moctezuma again told the court they have yet to find a lawyer, so their hearing has been postponed.

White and Moctezuma are facing felony animal cruelty charges after 24 horses were seized from the farm and the remains of 55 more were discovered in mass graves.

Police records have shown there was trouble on the farm for almost a decade. New details indicate the problems go back even further.

“They made a call, they asked her to come home. When she did, she was arrested by the Pleasant Prairie Police Department,” said Mike Pollocoff, Pleasant Prairie Village Administrator.

Pollocoff says Moctezuma was arrested in 2002. Her attorney says she was wanted under suspicion of stealing a horse trailer. Lawyers claim that Moctezuma was pinned to the ground and sustained a neck fracture as well as knee injuries.

“We never agreed to the claim that we had done her physical damage,” said Pollocoff.

The criminal case was thrown out by a federal judge, but Moctezuma sued for civil damages.

“We turned that over to our insurance company, we disputed,” Pollocoff said.

Moctezuma’s lawyers brag on their website about a settlement eight times the original offer.

“It was approximately $200,000,” said Pollocoff.

The village claims the lawsuit never softened its approach to the troubled farm. FOX6 News uncovered 18 complaints filed with Pleasant Prairie police that spans roughly a decade.

“When you look back at the records and problems that have existed throughout the years, were not as bad as the ultimate problem,” Pollocoff said.

In April, the village says it finally found the evidence it needed to seize animals.

“It is horrendous to think something like that could happen to innocent animals,” said Pollocoff.