Animal neglect: 'At that point I ... wasn't sure if it was alive or dead'

Animal neglect: 'At that point I ... wasn't sure if it was alive or dead' »Play Video
COQUILLE, Ore. - A jury took less than an hour and a half to find a North Bend woman guilty of animal abuse and neglect after a two-day trial on the handling and condition of 10 horses on her property.

The trial started last Thursday and concluded Friday. The jury found Bobby Cikanek guilty on one count of animal abuse in the first degree and 10 counts of animal neglect in the second degree.

The prosecution focused on the health and condition of 10 horses, including a newborn foal born on May 5, taken from the property by law enforcement officials on May 7.

Heidi Erickson has a horse boarding facility down the road from Cikanek and has been taking care of the foal and mare. She described the condition she first saw them in.

"There was a mare and a newborn foal, what appeared to be just a newborn laying in the mud," Erickson said. "At that point I actually wasn't sure if it was alive or dead. The mare was standing back off in the corner, away from the foal. I would say she was distressed."

Cikanek took the stand in the afternoon and was asked by her attorney, Alan Goldman, whether she noticed any health conditions or problems with her horses while on her North Bend property. She said no.

In their closing arguments, both sides took one last chance to discuss the case.

"Was she reckless? Yes," said prosecuting attorney Shani Krumholz. "Ms. Cikanek herself told you that she has 46 years of experience handling horses. Would a reasonable person, who has care and the knowledge to deal with horses, leave a foal in the mud for two days in March in Oregon? No."

"She was going on the knowledge that she had," Cikanek's attorney Goldman said. "This is not somebody who said, well I don't know anything about these animals and I'm just gonna fly by the seat of my pants, that would have been reckless."

The six person jury deliberated for an hour and 25 minutes Friday morning before delivering a guilty verdict.