Alabama Vet Student Accused of Conning Horse Owners

Fallon Blackwood was arrested on April 3.

Willie, one of the many horses to disappear under Blackwood’s care. Screen shot.

Fallon Blackwood, a third year veterinary student at Alabama’s Tuskegee University, was arrested by the state on April 3 and is awaiting extradition to North Carolina where she will face a charge of obtaining property by false pretenses.

Horse owners all over the Southeast are coming forward with stories of how Blackwood scammed them out of their horses, convincing owners that she would provide their horses with safe forever homes as companions to her barrel horse. Only one of 32 horses given to Blackwood has been recovered; the fate of the other horses is unknown but many suspect they went to slaughter.

According to owners, Blackwood was able to check all the boxes as the perfect caretaker for horses in need of a home: individuals seeking safe landings for horses unable to be ridden due to health and/or age (the typical “at risk” horse) or due to personal life changes for the owner, such as poor health or loss of job or home, were convinced by Blackwood that she could provide a great home — especially due to her credentials as a veterinary student. Who wouldn’t be convinced that a home with a vet in training was the perfect match?

However, when Blackwood failed to provide photos to former owners who had given her their horses, or reported that horses had died in tragic accidents, or in one case even presented a fake vet bill for euthanasia, red flags started to arise. When owners began listing their horses as missing at Stolen Horse International (NetPosse), the dots were connected, and the scope of Blackwood’s con was realized with multiple victims across multiple states. Efforts have been underway for well over a month to file formal charges.

Tuskegee University issued a statement that it could take no action until unquestionable proof was presented to the university, especially as Blackwood’s actions did not take place on university property or concern any university assets.

Aside from the heinous act by Blackwood of conning owners out of their horses and then likely selling those horses, this story has tragic resonance for all horse owners who simply want to do right by their animals and seek the perfect forever home when life circumstances change. Blackwood appeared to have all the credentials for rehoming horses in need of that soft landing, which makes this story all the more chilling.

We will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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