ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Horse owners in Blount and Etowah counties and across the Southeast are worried they may never see their beloved animals again, because they say a Tuskegee veterinary student tricked them into turning over their animals. They're worried there are more horse lovers out there who may have been scammed.
Investigators are worried about what Fallon Blackwood did with more than two dozen horses now missing after investigators say she lied to the horses owners about her plans for these animals.
"It breaks your heart because none of them wanted anything bad to happen to them, they loved them," says Debbie Metcalf, the founder of Stolen Horse International.
Metcalf's website is become a clearing house for at least 28 horse owners across the Southeast, all telling a similar story.
"She kind of became a family member to us and my mom was very attached to Blondie," says Etowah County horse owner Pamela Reeves.
Reeves met Blackwood through their mutual passion for horses and when Blackwood said she wanted to breed her stallion with Reeves' mare Blondie, she agreed.
"I told her I would give her Blondie if she would breed her and give her back if she ever got rid of her," Reeves said.
But about a year later, Reeves started to get worried when Blackwood stopped replying to her calls or messages. Then a few months ago, she saw a Facebook post with Blackwood's picture and a warning that she may be lying to horse owners about where their animals are.
"I'm pretty sure she went to slaughter," Reeves says.
She doesn't have proof of that yet, but says Blackwood never changed Blondie's registration into her name - a warning sign to Reeves.
"I tear up every time I think about it because Blondie was such a sweet horse. My mom fell in love with her. I hate to think I gave her to Fallon and that might have happened to her," Reeves continued.
At least one horse in North Carolina has been returned, but Stolen Horse International says at least 28 horse owners with more than 40 horses have filed reports with them, claiming Blackwood mislead them about where their animals are.
Pamela Reeves says she plans to file a police report with the Etowah County Sheriff's Office soon.