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Weber County rancher found guilty of animal cruelty

First Published      Last Updated Nov 15 2013 04:10 pm

A Weber County man has been found guilty of a number of animal cruelty charges during a two-day trial.

After a bench trial held last week at the Roy City Justice Court, a judge found 43-year-old Justin Barrow guilty of seven counts of class B misdemeanor cruelty to animals and three counts of class C misdemeanor failure to bury or dispose of a dead animal.

Barrow is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 4.

According to Deputy Weber County Attorney Jeffrey Thomson, at least four of the horses in Barrow's care belonged to a mother and son in Utah County who are facing similar charges after more than 100 malnourished horses were found on their property.Trudy Childs, 59, and her son, Rory Childs, 31, are each charged in 4th District Court 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.

Barrow was originally charged last September with 15 counts of cruelty to an animal. However, after the Childses were charged in February, a judge dismissed all by one count against the Weber County man.

But as the investigation continued, Thomson said, they discovered that Barrow had in fact been responsible for a number of horses found in similar conditions in Weber County — including four that belonged to the Childses, one belonging to another woman, and another that was in Barrow's care.

"He was really mistreating these horses," Thomson said Tuesday. "They were not being taken care of. They were being fed bread dough, hamburger patties and a lot of other garbage."

Thomson said Barrow owns several properties in unincorporated Weber County where a number of horses were kept. He said evidence that Barrow sold a number of horses out of the country to be used as meat also came out at the trial held last Wednesday and Thursday.

Barrow told a Salt Lake Tribune reporter in February that it was the Childses who mistreated the horses, not him or his family.

"It's dishonest and it's destroyed [us]," Barrow said in February of the Childses accusation that he was at fault.

It is unclear whether Barrow's conviction will have any affect on the Childses' case in Utah County.

Both Trudy and Rory Childs are scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 17 for a final pretrial conference. A three-day trial for the two is scheduled to begin on Jan. 22.


Twitter: @jm_miller