Animal rights group calls for charges after horses were dragged by truck
Videos showing horses being dragged behind a truck on a residential street in Utah have sparked community outrage and prompted animal rights groups to push for criminal charges against the driver.
Graphic videos, captured by residents’ home security cameras in Farmington, Utah, show two horses hitched to a trailer being pulled by a pickup truck as they struggle to keep up. Homeowners Don Evans and Amberly Powers shared the clips with local media. They say the accident happened Sept. 8 along Ranch Road.
While the Farmington Police Department (FPD) is aware of the videos, police told local station KUTV that they do not constitute animal cruelty. Farmington city officials said in a statement Monday that Davis County Animal Welfare is investigating.
Officials from the Humane Society of Utah told local media they believe the incident captured on video shows a case of animal cruelty and are demanding justice for the horses.
Newsweek I reached out via email and Facebook on Monday to FPD and Davis County Animal Care for comment. Newsweek I also reached out via email and social media to the Humane Society of Utah.
Evans told KUTV he is one of the residents whose surveillance cameras captured the “horrific” incident, saying he was not home at the time but saw the footage after his neighbor Powers told him what happened. Powers’ home camera also captured horses being pulled down the street.
In the clip that Evans shared with the station, the white horse stumbles before collapsing and being pulled onto its side. The video shows the truck continuing to drive for several seconds before stopping.
“I feel sick, angry and in disbelief,” Evans said of the footage. “I’ve never seen so much reckless disregard in my life. It’s appalling, and there’s a lot of anger in the community about this.”
The incident sparked such controversy in the community that Farmington city officials said in a statement Monday that there were “calls for violence” between local officials and the horses’ owner.
“The city recognizes that this is a distressing incident and understands the public concern regarding this matter,” the online statement said. “Animal cruelty is a serious issue, and we are concerned for the well-being of animals within our community. There have been calls for violence to city employees, elected officials, and the horse owner as a potential solution to this situation. Needless to say, we are concerned for the safety of the people involved in this incident and strongly ask for patience And compassion while conducting this investigation.
Humane Society Communications Director Guinevere Schuster 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 issue a statement on this matter because we really want to encourage the local jurisdiction to take the necessary action,” Schuster said, adding that “dragging horses behind a truck is unacceptable and puts the truck in danger.” The driver is subject to the penalties stipulated in the Criminal Code.”
Schuster told the station it was “really frustrating” to see the white horse fall and be dragged.
“Under Utah law, anyone who knowingly or recklessly transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner constitutes animal cruelty, and we feel they fall into this situation,” Schuster said.