ST. GEORGE — Three suspects were arrested Sunday afternoon at a New Harmony property on several counts of animal cruelty after Washington County Sheriff’s deputies discovered three dead horses reported to have died of starvation.
The suspects, John J. Trinity, Kelton L. Prisbrey and Christina L. Silvers, were booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane.
All three are charged with four counts of animal cruelty. Three of the counts include enhanced charges of aggravated neglect – making those charges third-degree felonies. They were additionally charged with one count of improper disposal of a dead domestic animal.
Washington County Sheriff’s Office was initially dispatched to the property Feb. 12 on complaint from a neighbor of an unburied horse corpse.
“By county code they are required to have the horse buried within three days,” Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. David Crouse said.
However, the horse had not been dead long enough for the suspects to have been in violation at that time.
“Deputies later responded to the same address on an unrelated civil matter and found that there was a horse still laying in the corral bed that was deceased,” Crouse said, “and further investigation found that two other horses had also recently been deceased and were buried in the corral area.”
Upon further investigation, deputies received statements from all three suspects indicating that the horses had died from starvation.
“They hadn’t been fed because the owners didn’t have sufficient funds to pay for the food,” Crouse said.
As of Monday night, Silvers had been released from custody but Trinity and Prisbrey remained in jail on bail that amounts to approximately $16,000 each.
The Humane Society of the United States encourages owners who can no longer care for their horses to seek help:
- Sell your horse to a properly vetted, private owner.
- Lease your horse to another horse enthusiast.
- Relinquish your horse to a therapeutic riding center, park police unit or similar program.
- Contact your horse’s breeder or previous owners.
- Relinquish your horse to a horse rescue or sanctuary.
- Consider humane euthanasia.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.