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Cheryl Ackerly – Collateral Matters: Enter the Cabal

Michael Morris – In Focus

After years of productive industry circumstances have arisen in several areas that practically force me back to the editorial keyboard. The animal cruelty charges against Tularosa, NM resident Cheryl Ackerly that have been languishing in the 12th Judicial District Court for 18 months may not be the most significant in terms of total harm caused, but there are some other factors that pop it to the top of the list for a moment. Over the next few parts I will walk you through some occasionally duplicative documentation of the case against Ackerly which is smoke and mirrors based mainly in the feet of clay of certain public officials and unethical conduct on the part of Ackerly’s attorney, Gary Mitchell, that has few rivals in the files of the Disciplinary Board. Ok, enough hype. Where to start is the only question.

Let’s start with the harm caused Ackerly since that is where my disclosure come in. Much of the damage, aside from the 7 horses taken, has been to her reputation. Much of this has occurred in the topix.com Alamogordo Forum as well as the TV news and the local paper. All of this has been undertaken by the same people that have made thousands of posts libeling me and my family including my 2 young children in the same forum. They also seem to be the same people behind, in various configurations, a continual campaign of harassment and false complaints against Ackerly for nearly a decade. The difference this time was they were able, with the help of a new addition to the libel crew, to stack the deck a little better. With the help of an incompetent and dishonest vet they were able to get a few horses taken and some charges filed. The problem is that the charges don’t quite fit the media hype that was the basis for the charges. That is why the DA that campaigned on a platform of speedy trials has allowed this case to stagnate for a year and a half without trial.

Below is a video produced by an Ackerly supporter that I am able to embed. It has the news video at the beginning. Focus on the physical condition of the horses being led away because the only allegations against Cheryl Ackerly are starving those horses and those horses alone.

OK, so you might be asking what all the vets familiar with this case are asking. How did those horses get classified as starving where Ackerly is criminally charged and the State helped itself to 7 horses? The answer is Becky Washburn DVM of Capitan, NM. That is the state’s witness regarding the condition of the horses. The hitch is she has a long business and personal relationship with one of the driving forces in the libel campaign against Ms. Ackerly, Sunny Aris.

Some of you may know Sunny Aris as the owner of the “Animal Village New Mexico” located just north of Alamogordo. Others may remember that Sunny Aris and Becky Washburn had an arrangement up in Lincoln County where Washburn was the primary recipient of tax funded vouchers that amounted to a $30 spay neuter discount. The funding for the vouchers was obtained through the efforts of Aris’ organization.

Dr. Becky Washburn, a Capitan veterinarian who handles the majority of the spay and neuter work for PAW, goes through 9,000 vouchers a years, Aris said.
Ruidoso News 05/12/2011

For whatever reason the county defunded them, but that is another story in the life of the self-proclaimed animal lover. That will be covered more in depth as the context permits. What matters here is that the veterinarian with a long history of personal and business relationships with one of the driving forces behind the effort to get a charge after a decade of failure by the locals is the state’s witness against Ackerly.

Not enough conflict for you. Rewind that video to the part where Otero County Sheriff Benny House says he has been told these horses had untreated infections and “other conditions” that were “construed” as abuse. Here is how odd and in your face this was:

 “We investigated the complaint on the dog and cleared that complaint,” he said at the time. “We learned of the livestock (horses) investigation by the NMLB. We assisted NMLB and their follow-up. As a result of the investigation through their veterinary office, we determined seven of the horses on the property had several infections and conditions that were construed as neglect or abuse.”

Then in the same story this:  Alamogordo News

According to 12th Judicial District Court records, Ackerly allegedly negligently mistreated and failed to provide necessary sustenance resulting in the horses being malnourished.

Consider this. Under signs of neglect in the Livestock Board bilingual brochure on their view as the enforcement agency the following:

The equine is severely emaciated (starved and extremely thin) and/or dehydrated and appears too weak/ injured to stand, or near death. The immediate area offers little if any feed or drinkable water.


Now ask yourself if the New Mexico Livestock Board sees the above condition to be the threshold for reporting then why are they taking those horses strong and bucking around? Becky Washburn DVM of Capitan, NM.

In any event this is just an overview and I think most get the point.

Let me save Gary Mitchell’s client abandonment for the next installment.