Malnourished, dead horses lead to charges against Miami County stable owner

Dead horses lead to charges against stable owner

BETHEL TWP., Miami County — The owner of Born to Fly Stables is accused of allowing six horses to starve, leading two of them to die, according to Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak.

Dayna A. Cocca, 26, of Bethel Twp., faces six counts of animal cruelty in Miami County Municipal Court.

>> 2-month-old with broken leg leads to felonious assault charge for father

Content Continues Below

Across Singer Road from the stables, there is no sign anything might be wrong. But on the grounds of the facility near Huber Heights investigators said horses were dead and starving.

Three of the malnourished horses were removed by the owners, two others died and a sixth was placed in a foster situation.

An investigation started Dec. 28, when the sheriff’s office received a tip the owner was “operating a horse boarding stable insufficiently” and that “numerous horses (were) not being cared for and living in deplorable conditions.”

Investigators didn’t find anything to support the allegations, until days later, after more tips and searching, “there were several horses that were found malnourished. Two of them unfortunately perished,” Duchak said.

The sheriff said the animals’ struggles were disguised the first time deputies stopped by.

“In the initial call, the blankets masked some of the emaciation on some of the horses,” Duchak said.

The Born to Fly Stables website says: “We offer every horse-related service you can possibly imagine, including boarding, lessons and events.” It also espouses that “we believe all horses need the basic necessities in order to live a healthy lifestyle” including “fresh water, free choice hay, socialization.”

But Duchak said that’s not what was happening. A necropsy at Ohio State University found that one of the deceased horses died of malnutrition.

Most of the animal victims did not belong to Cocca, but were being boarded.

“These are touch cases … and again another sad incident that has happened,” he said.