Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Rory Childs. Courtesy photo)
Owners of malnourished horses in Utah County will stand trial
Courts » Mother, son charged with animal cruelty after authorities found more than 100 sick or dying animals in their property.
First Published Jun 25 2013 06:21 pm • Last Updated Jun 26 2013 07:21 am

Provo • A mother and son charged with cruelty to animals after more than 100 malnourished horses were found on their Utah County property were ordered Tuesday to stand trial.

Trudy Childs, 59, and her son Rory Childs, 31, were each charged with one count of class B misdemeanor cruelty to an animal and 19 counts of cruelty to an animal, a class A misdemeanor, after Utah County Sheriff’s deputies found about 130 horses that were malnourished, sick, dying or dead.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Fourth District Judge Fred Howard ordered the pair to stand trial on all charges Tuesday after he heard testimony from Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Peterson and saw photos of the horses found in the Childses’ four pastures.

Peterson went through a number of photos, some of them showing extremely thin horses, others suffering oozing, open wounds. One photo showed a bandage over a horse’s eye that hadn’t been changed since the animal was injured by a tree branch two months prior, Peterson said. No clean water source or visible feed were located on the various properties, Peterson said.

"This is an indication that the horses were hungry," Peterson said, describing a photo of a stripped tree at one of the pastures. "These trees were completely stripped of the bark. This is what they would try to supplement their diet with."

Peterson testified that he contacted the rancher who sold Rory Childs hay, and calculated that based on the amount of hay sold to the man, he would only be able to feed the large number of horses seven pounds of hay per animal per day. A horse should be fed between 20 to 25 pounds of hay per day, Peterson said.

Rory Childs told investigators that he purchased hay from other sources, Peterson said, though he could not provide any receipts or documentation.

"They were definitely neglected," Peterson said.

Peterson noted that between six and eight horse carcasses were found on the Childses’ properties.

Defense attorney Richard Gale argued in court Tuesday that the charges should be class C misdemeanors because, while there was evidence that the Childses’ may have been reckless, their behavior was not intentional.


story continues below
story continues below

"I don’t think there was any evidence that this was intentional," he said.

About half of the Childses’ horses were auctioned off in May, after county officials filed a lien of more than $15,000 against the Childses for the care and feeding of the horses. The Childses were notified of the lien, prosecutors said in court papers, but failed to make payments.

According to court documents, Utah County authorities were tipped off to the malnourished horses in February 2013 after a neighbor noticed a black horse that could not stand and looked extremely underweight. The neighbor also noticed trees in the pasture that had been debarked by the hungry horses, according to a police statement.

"This is a case where this man, Rory Childs, has no business ever owning a horse," the neighbor wrote in statement to police. "... I have owned horses all my life. I have never seen such inhumane treatment of an animal."

Once deputies began investigating, they found that all of the horses showed signs of lethargy and lack of adequate food and care, according to prosecutors.

According to an autopsy, two of the dead horses were poisoned by eating moldy corn.

Two veterinarians who evaluated the horses concluded they were severely malnourished, one noting that no sign of adequate food or water could be found in the pasture where the majority of the horses were kept. According to a report filed in 4th District Court, one veterinarian noted that several of the horses had lice infestations and ticks spread "profusely" over their bodies.

The Childses will be back in court on July 16 for an arraignment.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.