Tuskegee vet student charged in cruel 'horse scam'

MACON COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -  Investigators in Alabama are working what they call a case involving a disturbing scam aimed at animal lovers.

Victims of this scam say they thought they were giving horses they could no longer care for to a good home, but soon found out that was not the case.

Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson says third-year Tuskegee University veterinarian student, Fallon Blackwood, told people across the southeast that she could take care of their horses at her property. However, caring was the opposite of what she was doing.

"She was getting the horses and telling the owners they were going to nice pasture land and would happily live their days out.  What she was doing was taking the horses to slaughter," says Brunson.

A Troup County report filed from a victim claimed they gave their horse valued at $1,500 to Blackwood back in November.

The victim said Blackwood claimed the horse would be taken in as a companion to a horse she already owned.

Soon after,  there was no sign of the horse and the victim says they believe their horse was slaughtered after a Facebook group revealed more people were in the same boat.

"From what I understand, there are many more over the south," says Brunson.

"Slaughtered to potentially be made into dog food is what is believed to have happened to some of the horses that landed in Blackwood's possession," Brunson says.

Investigators said state authorities picked her up on campus and booked her into the Macon County Jail this week after police in North Carolina issued a felony warrant for her arrest on a horse there.

News Leader 9 reached out to Tuskegee University for comment and haven't heard back yet.

Blackwood remains in the Macon County Jail facing felony charges of obtaining property under false pretense.

"It's just a shame something like this would happen and somebody would be this cruel, if this is what happened," says Brunson.

Blackwood is scheduled for a court hearing in Macon County Friday morning before she will be extradited to North Carolina.

Tuskegee University released the following statement regarding the case:

On the morning of Tuesday, April 3, the Alabama Bureau of Investigations notified the Tuskegee University Police Department that a warrant had been issued for Fallon Blackwood, a student at Tuskegee University. The warrant issued in North Carolina claimed that Ms. Blackwood obtained property — specifically, two horses — under fall pretense, and included a request for full extradition. The Tuskegee University Police Department immediately executed the warrant in cooperation with ABI agents while Ms. Blackwood was on university property, and transferred her to the Macon County Sheriff's Department for processing. As noted in a previous statement issued by the university on March 7, Tuskegee University remains committed to cooperating fully with law enforcement agencies on any ensuing investigations. Because of the current legal status of the matter, in accordance with student privacy laws, and in deference to Ms. Blackwood's rights to due process, the university cannot comment further on matter. All inquiries should be directed to the Martin County Sheriff's Office in Williamston, North Carolina, for updates on the status of the investigation.

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