The Crawford County Public Defender’s Office has been appointed to represent a Mulberry couple accused of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Eugene Franklin Bennett, 49, and Gail Bennett, 43, appeared before Judge Gary R. Cottrell Wednesday in Crawford County Circuit Court.

Cottrell found there was sufficient evidence to hold the couple, appointed the public defender to represent them and set bond at $3,500 each.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Shane Griffin said the Bennetts were arrested Tuesday after Cpl. James Mirus of the sheriff’s department was sent to the 9300 block of Sherman Creek Road to check on the welfare of horses in a vacant lot.

Nearby residents told Mirus the homeowners had moved several months ago and returned only a few times to feed and water the horses, Griffin said.

Mirus’ report stated three horses were extremely thin and one could barely move.

"It was clear the horses had been starved," the report states. "There was no hay for the horses nor was there grain present or an abundance of grass. The water trough had moss growing inside and it was dirty."

Pleas heard Wednesday by Cottrell were:

• Michael Brimble, 38, of Magnolia, Texas, pleaded not guilty to nonsupport, alleging he owes $12,507.41 in child-support.

• Clayburne Paul Parker, 37, of Van Buren pleaded not guilty to commercial burglary, theft of property and habitual offender. Parker is accused of shoplifting a knife at Walmart April 11.

• Jerry Lee Jones, 65, Robert Wayne Cox, 54, and Charles Theodore Cox, 52, all of Van Buren pleaded not guilty to possession of methamphetamine with purpose to deliver, possession of marijuana with purpose to deliver, possession of Xanax with purpose to deliver and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. Robert and Charles Cox are charged as habitual offender. The three were arrested April 6 after a parole search when officers were called to a residence in the 2000 block of Poplar Street to investigate a verbal disturbance.

• Don Lamar Love, 42, of Grand Prairie, Texas, pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree forgery, first-degree terroristic threatening and disorderly conduct. Love was arrested April 5 following a disturbance at a local apartment complex. When he was booked into the detention center, deputies allegedly found four counterfeit $100 bills.

• Marty Lee Thomas, 52, of Van Buren pleaded not guilty to second offense driving while intoxicated and refusal to submit to chemical test. Thomas was arrested Nov. 17, 2015, following a wreck on Webber Creek Road near its intersection with Wildwood Road.

• Fredrick Eugene Johnson, 46, of Van Buren pleaded not guilty to failure to appear at a Nov. 6 pre-trial hearing on charges of delivery of methamphetamine and habitual offender.

• Robert Justin Turney, 32, of Van Buren pleaded not guilty to failure to appear at a March 9 petition to revoke hearing.

• Curtis Alan Bell, 26, of Van Buren pleaded not guilty to failure to appear at an Oct. 13 plea status on charges of theft of property and fraudulent use of a credit or debit card.

• Heather May Stephens, 38, of Alma resisted a petition to revoke a sentence she received July 26, 2013, for possession of drug paraphernalia, manufacture of methamphetamine and failure to appear, alleging she has failed to pay the fee for DNA sampling and drug task force fee.

• Carl Raynard Jones, 53, of Fort Smith resisted a petition to revoke a sentence he received Nov. 29, 2012, for failure to appear and theft by receiving, alleging he has failed to pay restitution.

• Saundra Gail Meadows, 36, of Heber Springs resisted a petition to revoke a sentence she received Sept. 2, 2011, for possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of diazepam and possession of methadone, alleging she was arrested Sept. 12, 2015, for possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

• Jay Olden Bruce Jr., 40, of Mulberry resisted a petition to revoke a sentence he received Nov. 10, 2006, for commercial burglary, theft of property, forgery and failure to appear, alleging he has failed to pay restitution.