Molino Man Sentenced On Two Felony Animal Abuse Counts

August 1, 2017

A Molino man has been sentenced on two felony animal abuse charges in connection with two malnourished horses.

Charles Van Deese, 53, was charged with two felony counts of animal abuse causing cruel death or pain and suffering. Judge John Miller withheld adjudication in sentencing Deese to 36 months probation on each count to run concurrent. He was prohibited from owning, possessing or controlling any animals, and prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol. He was also ordered to pay $1,734.85 in restitution to Panhandle Equine Rescue.

According to court documents, Escambia County Animal Control received a complaint  from Panhandle Equine Rescue about two horses in poor condition on Parker Lane off the 3000 block of Highway 97. PER told a county investigator that Deese had been in and out of the hospital during the last several months and was unable to care for his horses. In his absence, they were being cared for by two of his friends.

Animal control reported that a  veterinarian that examined the horses stated that they needed to be fed more often, and that the pasture was not sufficient to provide enough food for the horses. The pasture was reported to contain only weeds and very short grass.

Photos by Panhandle Equine Rescue for, click to enlarge.


19 Responses to “Molino Man Sentenced On Two Felony Animal Abuse Counts”

  1. John on August 2nd, 2017 9:19 pm

    Misdemeanor charges maybe, but felony charges, come on people that’s ridiculous!

  2. Gulf coast on August 2nd, 2017 8:49 pm

    If horse slaughter was legal in the United States again then horse starvation would not be as big of a problem as it is now. There is currently no easy remedy to a horse that people no longer want.

  3. Mark on August 2nd, 2017 6:13 pm

    The law can be so harsh on animal offenses. People are dying of poverty, no money to see a physician, etc. I care about horses, don’t get me wrong. The justice system seems to care more about animals than people. This man was sick. Who is helping the sick people?

  4. Grandma on August 2nd, 2017 4:00 pm

    It was my understanding that Van Deese took the horses in BECAUSE someone else could not care for them. Then he had health issues. Friends he depended on let him down. NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED!
    Grandma for all the facts

  5. terri on August 2nd, 2017 12:34 pm

    Well you can say “Oh Yea He Is A Good Man” but…i do not think a good man would do this….so stop defending this animal abuser and give him a sentence just like he gave the defenseless horses.

  6. horse lover on August 2nd, 2017 8:20 am

    i agree concern citizen.the county only picks on certain people.when i lived in molino we had 3 horses on 1 acre. the horses were there 8 yrs.we had a good fence but not to much grass.we were planning to move to get the horses more land but the county bout pick me to death.they were fat and healthy.they should have been grand fathered in like alot of other horses.i lived there to take care of my mom til she died.right down the road a lady had 17 horses on 5 acres.but that was ok with the county i guess.just to say if they dont like you they will pick you to death.i went on a 15 mile search and people had more horses on less land than i i told them to take me to court.well i guess i opened up a can of one said a darn thing in 8 yrs about my horses and all the sudden here they come.they know who to pick on for sure.

  7. Bob's Brother on August 2nd, 2017 8:16 am

    There are horse auctions here and there, you just have to know when and where.
    That said, a horse is likely the most expensive “pet” possible. I calculated once that with vaccinations, wellness certificates, tests for coggins, farrier, transport, and feed, a horse properly kept is around $300.00 or, $3600. per year if you have a pasture…. if you board, add another 3 to 6 thousand per year. If you don’t have the money to support a horse, don’t get one.

  8. Gulf coast on August 2nd, 2017 7:26 am

    Maybe if you could actually sell a horse at a livestock auction, people wouldn’t be starving them.

  9. Linda Kelly on August 1st, 2017 8:09 pm

    Well all I can say is the sentence he received not enough. He is negligent in all aspects. From not keeping fences maintained to starving animals. Those animals were starving way before he went in the hospital. But his comment is he knows friends in high places. I know this personally before due to his negligence I hit and totaled a vehicle when he allowed a cow which he knew was upset to get out. According to him he needed to take a nap. This was told to me by him at the feed store. He did not care his animals were starving The book should have been thrown at him. Some people don’t have any respect for being responsible.

  10. billw on August 1st, 2017 12:56 pm

    I’ve had the privilege of knowing Van for a number of years. He’s a good man. Circumstances in life sometimes overtake all of us and we may make mistakes we wouldn’t make otherwise. I can assure you there was no malice intended.

  11. bartender on August 1st, 2017 10:42 am

    Its a shame people only get probation when they harm animals.he should have to pay panhandle atleast 5,000 for whats hes done. he rode around like he was a big cowboy and put on a show like he was a good and out of hospital what an excuse and even he he did,he could have called the rescue to come get them.some friends he had if that were true but i dont belive it.i guess if they died he would still have got probation.better give him a breath machine everyday.probation is not nothing.he should have to work at the panhandle every week in for a year and let him look at abuse sad what people are these days.he dont look like hes gone without no meals.

  12. Concerned animal lover on August 1st, 2017 9:26 am

    This is so sad. And he only gets probation….. Put him in the fields, let him clean up poop, bath the animals etc. Those animals did not choose to be behind that fence, not being groomed, fed or watered. A little jail time is still to good for Van Deese. If he was to ill to take care of them or didn’t have the funds to take care of the poor horses, THEN GIVE THEM AWAY. Would you just let your children hang out in the yard with no food or water, until they looked this way. SHAME ON YOU….

  13. Diane Lowery on August 1st, 2017 9:18 am

    Before everyone comes to his defense, he was out of the hospital more than he was in. He had his day in court and was found guilty. Adjudication was withheld because he had no priors. He is now in the system and we can only hope he learned from this and won’t repeat.

  14. Bill on August 1st, 2017 8:29 am

    Did it take all this legal crap for this idiot to figure out he cannot take care of animals. Now with that being said get a psychological review you may need help !!!!!!

  15. Just Saying on August 1st, 2017 8:15 am

    They would not be my friends anymore! Just can’t count on anyone, anymore! Sorry this happened to you when you were down and needed help from your friends, from what I have heard about you, you love your animals and were sickened even more by this!

  16. Concerned Citizen on August 1st, 2017 7:49 am

    So sad! I find this article especially interesting bc there is a pasture in identical condition, approx 3 acres, nothing but weeds, short grass with 12 horses on it. Animal control and panhandle equine have been notified, neither have done anything. Apparently the owners do just enough to get a pass. In addition, recently the county code enforcement has given them a pass, stating they are grandfathered in and do not have to abided by the code stating “no more than one equine per acre” …its unfortunate that the very codes put in place to protect property values. What’s worse is that since the code was enacted, they have added 3 more horses? I wonder who they know or are paying off at the county bc there have been countless calls and nothing done. This has been going on before we moved in, 10 years or more.

  17. 429SCJ on August 1st, 2017 6:03 am

    I remember when we first moved here from Atmore, if you had a horse in your back yard, you had a sign out front that proclaimed the “Whatever Ranch”?

    People with insufficient acreage or feed resources, should develop less demanding hobbies and fetishes. Horses require a great deal of care and maintenance and many of these so called “ranchers” would have difficulty properly caring for a dog, much less live stock.

  18. Otto on August 1st, 2017 5:59 am

    If you intend to own horses, please think about what is involved. They need some type of proper shelter, feed , pasture, vet care and a farrier. If you get one on a whim, and try to shortcut their care you are at best delusional. The above pictures are an example of that irrational thinking.

  19. John D Adams on August 1st, 2017 3:41 am

    Withheld adjudication and probation for 2 Felonies?

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