Local News


CONTACT 13: Horse's body dumped in the desert

Posted at 12:31 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 21:49:29-04
Photos of a gruesome discovery posted on social media are raising questions of animal cruelty. 
Dumping anything in the desert is illegal, but it's far worse when what's dumped was once a living creature  and probably a family pet.
"To find a domesticated animal as large as that laying in the desert," says Diann Dunn-Friedman. "How do you explain to your children? 'Mean people did this.'" 
Diann has had horses in her life for 40 years. 
"It's not a wild horse because it has shoes on."
When photos of the decaying horse dumped near U.S. 93 surfaced on social media last week, folks from the horse community were shocked. 
"Absolutely appalling. Because that's not how you leave an animal," says Diann.
When a horse falls ill and can't be helped, it should be humanely euthanized by a trained vet and disposed of safely. 
"You don't just bring a horse out into the middle of the desert," Diann explains, "and leave it there and think that nobody is going to find it or come across it. It's just not humane to do. It's horrible."
This isn't the first time Contact 13 investigated dead horses dumped in this area.
In February of last year, we called Animal Control about another gruesome scene. Two dead horses. One apparently dismembered in a case that to this day remains open and unsolved. 
Animal Control is also now investigating the recent discovery from earlier this month.
"Was there cruelty?" asks Jason Allswang, of County Code Enforcement and Animal Control Administrator. "Was there a situation where somebody did try to abuse the animal and then drop the animal somewhere where they hoped it wouldn't be found?"
Allswang says while Animal Control didn't see specific signs of abuse on this horse, dumping dead animals is a serious problem.  
"When an animal is decomposing and other animals feed on that, if there is any disease in that animal we don't want it to spread throughout other animals and cause a change in the ecosystem."
On top of that, taxpayers foot the bill to remove the horse. 
"It's generally anywhere between $400 to $600," says Allswang. 
Allswang says we also pay another price in the form of resources.
"When somebody does do something like this and they dump an animal illegally out in the desert, it's taking away services from other people."
That's why Diann has a message from the horse community.  
"They will never bring their horse for whatever reason and just dump it out there. And just discard as a piece of trash."
For more information about proper disposal of your pets, click here.