Police recommend animal cruelty charges against owner of 10 horses found dead

Posted at 11:46 AM, Aug 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-14 00:05:56-04

MAGNA, Utah – Authorities are now recommending animal cruelty charges against the owner of 10 horses found dead in Magna.

Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Unified Police Department said officers were called to a field near 9200 W. 3500 S. back in July, where they found several dead horses.

Hoyal said they have now confirmed the cause of death and are in the process of bringing charges against the owner of the horses.

“We have determined the horses died as a result of dehydration,” he said. “We are now going to take the case, later this week, to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office and screen charges against the horses’ owner for animal cruelty.”

Authorities said one horse was found still alive among the other 10 that died. The Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory found the horses died from dehydration.

The owner of the horses has not been identified at this time, however FOX 13 News spoke with his daughter. She said the entire family is heartbroken and that they put a lot of time, effort, money and love into raising the animals. The daughter did not comment on how or why the horses were left without water.

Magna resident Dennis Morgan was the first person to discover the dead horses on July 18.

"I had no idea they were dying until I smelt the smell and saw the vultures," Morgan said.

For nearly 20 years, Morgan, said he had the enjoyment of watching the horses galloping in the fields behind his house. Morgan said he doesn't understand how the animals could have died of dehydration.

"In the past we've seen the owner come out here and he's taken care of these horses," Morgan said. "They always brought a water truck out and over here in the field there is another trough and they'd fill that up with water and this would be twice a week."

Morgan said his heart goes out to the owner and his family.

"The man was in tears, he immediately came home when he found out about this and was just in shock," Morgan said. "Whoever was supposed to be taking care of the horses obviously didn't do their job."

Morgan also said he understands, from a legal standpoint, no matter what led to the horses deaths, someone needs to be held responsible.

"You know the buck stops here, he is the owner of the horses, it's unfortunate, it's very unfortunate, you know I have three beautiful Saint Bernards and if I go somewhere I make sure that someone is going to be taking care of them," Morgan said.