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"If every human makes a positive difference in the life of another human, or another animal, the world will be a much happier place. Don't contemplate, wonder, procrastinate or ponder. The greatness of you needs only to be acted upon. Just do it! "
--Theresa J. Barbour, Founder, Animals Need No Abuse (A.N.N.A.) Org.


Anna's Story

This beautiful horse was destroyed for lack of food: A Travesty Unveiled


Candor, NY, Animal Cruelty Case

Many visitors to have been following the story of Anna, a local horse who was starved to death. Her story is given below, following a report about the trial given to me by Anna's owner, Theresa Barbour. Thank you for your interest in this story and for your interest in making a better world for animals.

On February 11th, 2005 Pete Cicci was found guilty of the starvation and death of Anna. Testimony for the prosecution was given by Theresa Barbour, Alan Schelter (photographer of some of the photos taken the day she was reposed), Ellen Schelter (minor child who had owned the horse), Veteranarian Robin Rogers and Cornell pathologist Dr. Summers, Sheriff's Deputy Robert Blasch, and Crystal Chafee (horse hauler who helped remove Anna from her horrible conditions at the Cicci's). A deposition from a third veteranarian who had examined Anna the day she was reposed was presented by Cornell's Dr. Michael Ghast. Testimony for the defense was given by Cicci himself, his wife Billie Jo, his daughter Jaimie, and a friend of theirs, Leroy, who claimed to watch them feed their animals all the time and helps them frequently.

The trial was a jury trial. It took a total of 12 hours. I was grateful to those who had to take time off work to be there, unpaid, to testify for Anna. My daughter was there with her fiancee, three days before their wedding. They did have to slip out to run to a neighboring town to get their marriage license, as the Candor town hall was closed except for the trial going on for our case. Her soon-to-be spouse had come in from Ft. Rucker late the night before on a short leave to get married. Assistant D.A Adam Schumacher was wonderful in keeping the trial going so that it didn't get held over until Monday, when we had planned a wedding and didn't want this to be ongoing. We truly needed this chapter of life to be done. Finally by 9 p.m. the kids had gone to eat, and my husband and I were the only people left besides the Ciccis. I had had two cups of coffee, a salad, and a candy bar the entire day, fearing that if I left, even for lunch, something would happen while I was gone.

The jury finally came back with just what we needed: a unanimous GUILTY verdict.

Sentencing was not to be until May 2, 2005. While we waited the probation department did a presentencing investigation and then makes reccomendations to the district attorney's office. On May 2, Cicci was sentenced to 3 years probation, 160 hours of community service, approximately $520 (not even one-third of the money owed) restitution to the Barbours, and prohibition from owning or having animals on his property during his probation.

This sentence was good yes, but good enough? NO. He's already twisting the ruling: He works for a man named Buck Dodge, who lives down the Barbours back road. Dodge owns draft horses. The Ciccis have adopted Bureau of Land Management (BLM) mustangs during this ordeal, and all their horses are still be kept inside. According to what they tell the probation department, the animals are being kept in Mr. Dodge's barn.

Ellen Schelter, the girl who owned Anna, spent several hours down the back road working for Mr. Dodge, for no pay, just to be around the horses. She also boarded Anna there until they could no longer care for her and she was sold to the Cicci's. I wonder who takes care of the Cicci horses then? I guess he probably tells probabtion that Billie Jo does, but she Was the owner of record of Anna too. BLM says that it removes untitled horses if an owner is ever found guilty of abuse or neglect of an animal. They won't do a thing in this case, however, because Pete Cicci was guilty but Billie Jo owns the mustangs, even though she also owned Anna. We have seen him riding, walking his kids on horses, and transportng, horses, and we know that the Dodges go every year to the state fair in Syracuse (Cicci had to be responsible for not only his own but also any of Dodge's non-driving horses).

So in my opinion, Pete Cicci was found guilty, yes, but he was not punished.

I continue to work for legislative improvements. We need harsher punishments. I also think we need a district attorney with the backbone to take offenses like this and charge them as felonies. If we read the law carefully in New York State, it seems clear that Anna falls within the defintion of a companion animal, and that her starvation was done with the knowledge that Anna would die, and that the killing was depraved. Why then is it not a felony? The only reason Assistant District Attorney Scumacher came up with when we debated this was that something like this has never has been a felony charge in NY. Well I say that's just not good enough! Not anymore.

Through my new organization, named in Anna's honor, I intend to work to change this and keep moving in a positive direction to bring about awarness and open people's eyes, ears, and hearts to the damage people do to animals.

Theresa J. Barbour
Founder, Animals Need No Abuse (A.N.N.A.) Org.

For additional information about Anna's case and A.N.N.A, contact Theresa J. Barbour (

Anna's story

Anna was a beautiful buckskin mare. She was curious and full of life. Anna was one of the lead horses in the Spencer Picnic Parade in August of 2003. Anna was my daughter's best friend.

In November of 2003 we sold Anna so my daughter could have some money to take to college in the fall of 2004. The family I sold her to had gotten a dog from us a year or so prior to this, and he was spoiled by them. We thought this was a great home for Anna, and they lived close to us as well, so my daughter would be able to visit her whenever she came home.

For months I made calls, sent a certified letter, and asked for payment to be made for Anna. I would hear how great Anna was doing and how one of their daughter's would be doing 4H with her. They have 2 BLM (Bureau of Land Management) mustangs they bought at Cornell University Auction. Finally, on June 24, 2004 I made another call to see if they had payment for us, up until then I had received 1 of the monthly payments. Pete Cicci, the man who co-purchased Anna, explained to me that he was "at the point where he was just going to have to bring her back" to us. I told him that was fine. He said he would bring her down to us over the weekend. This was on Thursday the 24th of June. My husband told my daughter not to wait just to go get her.

My daughter called a woman who had boarded Anna before this, and the two of them went to pick her up. My daughter came back and was sobbing. She said Anna was skin and bones. I called the woman who had trailered Anna to her new home to get her opinion. She informed me that Anna was extremely emaciated. She said that she would turn them in if I did not.

I called the Tioga County Sheriff's Department, and they sent Deputy Rob Blasch out. He agreed to meet me up at Anna's new stable. When I arrived he was there along with Officer Dave Lanning of the Spencer Police Department. They were both taking pictures of Anna. I was shocked when I saw Anna, she looked terrible. I knew she had not been fed.

I called Cornell Vets, since I use them on my goat farm. They sent out Dr. Gast. He said she was emaciated, dehydrated and might have pneumonia. He gave her an IV with several medications. He said he was hopeful, because Anna was lying down when he got there, but had gotten on her feet before he left. He also gave us a feed regimen to follow.

On the morning of June 25th, 2004 I awoke to a call from Deputy Blasch. He was continuing his investigation, but didn't think he could bring charges at this point. He said the mustangs did not look as bad as Anna.

Later that morning I went to see Anna. She had gone down about 2 a.m. and could not get up. She tried over and over again to get up, but could not. Once again, I called Cornell, it took Dr. Gast 5 hours to be located and be able to make it out to us. Upon examining Anna he said that time would tell, and it would be up to Anna now. He said he was glad she had such a voracious appetite. Anna, had spent much of the morning working herself out of the stable and into the grass. She would try to stand and lunge herself one way or another before she fell again. Dr. Gast said Anna was simply too weak to stand. He helped us drag her back into the stall so she wouldn't get sick from eating the food her system was not used to having.

On the morning of June 26th, I received a call from my daughter who had taken her sleeping bag and sweatshirts (and Anna's favorite treats - carrots and lollipops) to spend the night in the barn with Anna. When I got the call my daughter was hysterically crying. Anna was still down and now choking on blood from cuts on her tongue and lips, she acquired trying to stand and falling. She was thrashing, trying to get up. I sent my son and youngest daughter up to her right away, while I called the vet and some other help. The Cornell vets were all out of the office and they said they would try and locate someone. I knew Anna could not wait. I called a local equine vet someone had told me about the day before.

She arrived about 5 minutes after me and examined Anna. She said Anna did not have pneumonia. She explained that a less experienced clinician may have made that diagnosis because the loss of fat layers between the lung compartments would make it sound like pneumonia. She said that the most humane thing to do was to euthanize Anna. She explained that even taking Anna to Cornell Equine Hospital and having her in a sling and treated for a long time there, she would only have a 15-20% chance of survival. My daughter asked her to do it and get it over with, she said she didn't want Anna to hurt herself anymore.

The vet put Anna to sleep, her diagnosis - CAUSE OF DEATH: STARVATION.

Pete and his wife Billie Jo Cicci, had failed to provide Anna the nutrition she needed for life. Pete, 47 years old, told Deputy Blasch, they just didn't have the money to pay a vet. Deputy Blasch who informed the Cicci's, based on the word of someone who was a civilian bystander when Dr. Gast was there on the 24th, that the horse had pneumonia. Deputy Blasch thought if the horse had pneumonia, this might explain the weight loss. We had Anna taken to Cornell necropsy for an autopsy, so they could not use this as a defense, as if not providing vet care is ok! Deputy Blasch explained that he was waiting for the vet reports and the Pathology report, then he would talk with District Attorney Jerry Keene to see if charges could be made.

When the reports all came back, all 3 reports stated the cause of death to be malnutrition/emaciation/starvation. The autopsy stated the horse weighed only 264 kg., her Henneke score was 1.0, she had little to no body fat and significantly decreased muscle tissue (a result of not having anymore fat reserves).

Deputy Blasch, on July 1, 2004 charged Pete Cicci, 47, of 173 Schumacher Rd., Candor, NY 13743, with animal cruelty. Cicci was issued an appearance ticket for the Town of Candor Court, July 19th, 2004 at 3p.m. The Deputy did not remove the other animals from the premises, nor did he charge both parties responsible. I am, however going to pursue this matter in civil court as well. The charge of animal cruelty on the part of Pete Cicci was listed in the Binghamton Press and Sun, Section C, Friday, July 2, 2004.

I hope Anna's story can help people see that we need quicker response time and much harsher punishments for those who would be so cruel. For any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.