Thirty-five seized horses remain under custody by the Runnels Co Sheriff’s Department


BALLINGER– A woman from Winters was sent to jail charged with cruelty to animals and 35 horses were seized by the Runnels County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities found that the horses had been malnourished and mistreated for a long time.

Sandra Bannister, 56-years-of-age, of Winters, Texas, is the owner of the horses found at a property located 3 miles south of Winters, off of U.S. Highway 83.

On Wednesday, September 12, the Runnels County Sheriff’s Department was granted a warrant to seize 12 horses that had been water deprived for several days.

Runnels County Sheriff Bill Baird said that during the course of the investigation deputies went to the site several times and found that the only water source for the horses was a tank with a pump that had to be manually operated. “During three days we went there and the horses had no water, the tank had a leak and we were the only ones watering the horses,” said Baird.

After the seizure, on Friday, September 14, the Sheriff’s Department found 23 more malnourished horses in a different location, also belonging to Bannister. Veterinarians were called to examine the horses and found them to be in varying stages of malnutrition. A young colt had to be euthanized.

During the course of the seizure Deputy Sheriff David Sellers was hit by a gate pushed by one of the horses. Sellers ended up with a fractured leg.

The horses remain under the supervision of the Runnels County Sheriff’s Department, which designated a private ranch for the animals to stay.

Bannister had legal representation at the hearing held by Judge Richard Hamilton. She was taken to the Runnels County Jail and charged with cruelty to animals. She has 10 days to appeal the sentence.