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Utah man accused of starving horses

Published January 28, 2013 5:57 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Cache County man has been charged with multiple counts of cruelty to animals after dozens of horses were found in poor condition with little feed on his property. One colt died from the abuse, court documents say.

The Cache County Attorney's Office charged Darwin Layne Nielson, 57, with 25 counts of cruelty to animals, all class B misdemeanors, on Thursday.

According to a probable-cause statement from the Cache County Sheriff's Office, a deputy became aware of the horses' poor condition on Jan. 17. The deputy went to the area of 4800 South and 1200 West and found three adult mares and two colts described in the report as "very thin and did not appear to have any feed."

The deputy received a complaint of 20 more horses a few blocks away that were in similar condition. All 25 were found to belong to Nielson, the report stated.

Five days later, an inspector from the Utah State Veterinarian's Office also found the 25 horses to be in poor condition "that did not meet the minimum standards of acceptable levels of feed for the animals," according to the report. One colt that had been observed by the deputy on Jan. 17 died in the time between the two visits. The veterinary inspector believes the death was caused by starvation.

Nielson was arrested and charged with one count of animal cruelty per horse.