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Animal Rights Group Calls for Charges After Horses Dragged by Truck

Videos showing horses being dragged behind a truck down a Utah residential street have triggered outrage in the community and sparked an animal rights group to push for criminal charges against the driver.

The graphic videos, captured by residents’ home security cameras in Farmington, Utah, show two horses tied to a trailer being towed by a pickup truck as they struggle to keep up. Homeowners Don Evans and Amberly Powers shared the clips with Newsweek. They say the incident occurred on September 8 along Ranch Road.

Farmington city officials said in a statement on Monday that Animal Care of Davis County is investigating.

Animal Care of Davis County Director Ashleigh Young told Newsweek in an email on Tuesday that a formal investigation has been launched to “discover the facts and circumstances.” A video shows one of the horses fall and get dragged.

“The gray horse in question has been thoroughly examined by our department and was found to have only minor injuries from the incident, and is expected to make a full recovery,” Young said.

“The individual responsible for this incident has been cooperating fully throughout the investigation, Young said. “We ask the public to refrain from threats of violence to individuals involved in this sad situation.”

Officials from the Humane Society of Utah told local media that they believe the incident captured on video shows a case of animal cruelty and are seeking justice for the horses.

Newsweek reached out via email and Facebook on Monday to the FPD and Animal Care of Davis County for comment. Newsweek also reached out via email and social media to the Humane Society of Utah.

Evans told KUTV that he is one of the residents whose surveillance cameras captured the “horrendous” incident, saying he wasn’t home at the time but watched the footage after his neighbor, Powers, told him what happened. Powers’ home camera also caught the horses being pulled down the street.

Powers, 54, told Newsweek in an interview on Tuesday that she was the person who reported the incident to authorities, referring to what she witnessed as “horrible to watch.”

In the clip Evans shared with the station, the white horse stumbles before collapsing and getting dragged on its side. The video shows the truck continues to drive for several seconds before stopping.

“Sick to my stomach, outraged, disbelief,” Evans said of the footage. “I have not seen this amount of reckless disregard in my life. It’s horrendous; there’s a lot of outrage in the community over this.”

The incident has sparked such controversy in the community that Farmington city officials said in a statement on Monday that there have been “calls made for violence” to local officials and the owner of the horses.

“The City recognizes this is a traumatic incident and understands the public concern around this matter,” the online statement reads. “Animal cruelty is a serious issue, and we are concerned for the welfare of the animals within our community. There have been calls made for violence to City staff, elected officials, and the horse owner as a possible solution to this situation. Needless to say, we are concerned for the safety of humans involved in this incident and we strongly request patience and empathy as this investigation plays out.”

Powers echoed Young, telling Newsweek that while the incident was awful, she urged community members to refrain for making threats.

“I am deeply troubled that threats to the owner of the horses and any public officials have become part of the dialogue in this situation,” she told Newsweek. “Threats should not be tolerated and distract from the issues at hand. This situation is only about the welfare of the horses involved, we need to let Davis County Animal Control/Farmington Police Department proceed with their investigation in a safe and constructive manner.”

Humane Society communications director Guinnevere Shuster told KUTV that the animal welfare group wants Davis County investigators to charge the driver with animal cruelty and traffic violations.

“The Humane Society condemns the situation, and we decided to release a statement about it because we really want to encourage the local jurisdiction to take action,” Shuster said, adding that “the dragging of horses behind a truck is unacceptable and subjects the truck driver to penalties under the criminal code.”

Shuster told the station that it was “really disheartening” to see the white horse fall and be dragged.

“Under Utah law, anybody who knowingly, recklessly transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner is considered cruelty to animals, and we feel that it falls in that situation,” Shuster said.