Videos showing horses being dragged behind a truck down a Utah residential street has triggered outrage in the community and sparked 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 local media outlets. They say the incident occurred on September 8 along Ranch Road.
While the Farmington Police Department (FPD) is aware of the videos, police told local station KUTV that it doesn’t qualify as animal cruelty. Farmington city officials said in a statement on Monday that Animal Care of Davis County is investigating.
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.
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.”
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.
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