(Riverton, WY) – 51-year-old Kathy Wright was sentenced to four years probation on Monday, Oct. 23, for misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.
She entered into Alford pleas to eight of the 10 charges she initially faced; two of the charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
An Alford plea “registers a formal admission of guilt towards charges in criminal court while the defendant simultaneously expresses their innocence toward those same charges.”
Wright maintained her innocence throughout the hearing. “I did not do this,” she said multiple times Monday.
Riverton Circuit Court Judge Daniel Stebner sentenced Wright to six months probation for each count, to be served consecutively. Probation totals four years, with the first two years supervised.
While on probation, she cannot “own, transport or possess any animals.”
She was also ordered to pay $4,261.76 in restitution to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office for hay, supplies, veterinary care, and other costs associated with caring for and re-homing her animals.
Assistant Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Ember Oakley represented the State during Monday’s hearing.
She presented photos of dead goats taken on Wright’s property and a horse with protruding hip bones.
“There are hundreds of pictures,” she said. “I don’t think it captures the scale of it.”
She noted during her argument that it is unfortunate that Wyoming law only recognizes this charge as a misdemeanor.
“(A) decade of vet records and reports show that these are knowing acts,” Oakley said.
She brought up records about animal hoarding and lack of care starting back in 2012 from Washington state.
“Through this case, through copious records, she’s been through this process…that to me is the single most damning factor here,” she said. “This is done knowingly and seemingly having no empathy.”
‘I have always loved animals’
Wright noted that her garage burned down, losing some of the necessary equipment to care for her animals.
In addition to the garage and a hard winter, an illness also overcame her goats, causing them to go off of their feed. This killed 12 babies, not 22, she said.
Wright also rebutted the State’s argument.
“Nothing was seized in Spokane,” she said. “As far as past reports, no abuse was found.”
Wright went on to reiterate her passion for animals.
“I have always loved animals,” she explained. “I haven’t had issues until my goats got sick.”
She presented over a dozen letters to the Court, of which Wright gave County 10 copies. The letters are from Fremont County locals and Washington residents, who each, in their own way, expressed that she would not neglect or abuse animals.
Click here to view our previous reporting on this case.