BUZZ 2: Cruelty Deja-Vu

By on October 11, 2017

New cries of animal cruelty against a new pair of horses

These two horses look thinner than usual, Bobbi and Ken Eva think. The couple has alleged abuse against Heart 6 Ranch (Photo: Bobbi Eva)


JACKSON HOLE, WY — Teton County Sheriff’s Department has been alerted to yet another case of suspected animal cruelty against two horses on Heart 6 Guest Ranch. It’s the second case in almost as many months, but the laws haven’t changed since August, which means there’s likely not a lot law enforcement can do.

Bobbi and Ken Eva photographed the horses, who they believe to be starving, and reported them to the sheriff’s office Monday morning. They thought the horses looked emaciated.

“It’s obvious they’re not getting fed,” Bobbi said.

The couple drives past the horses regularly. One of them, a 13-year old pony, the couple knows personally. Ken is an equine dentist, and worked on the ranch’s horses under its previous owners. They bought the pony in 2008, he recalls, and in fact was overweight most of its life.

“That pony is something that is hard to keep the weight off of,” Ken said.

“They didn’t have any problem keeping that pony fat,” Bobbi echoed.

The pony is 13 years old—far too young to be so thin. “That’s the prime of his life,” Bobbi said. And metabolisms on ponies are different. Slower. “He had to have missed a lot of meals to get in that condition.”

But, like with Forest Stearns’ case, the sheriff’s department now has to prove malicious intent to harm the animal. Stearns, whose horse died after an incident that looked to many like abuse, is awaiting a January trial, but maintains custody of his animals.

In this case, even less evidence exists against Heart 6 Ranch

“They cared for at least the minimum standard,” deputy Kurt Drumheller (otherwise known as Deputy Dab) said. The horses had food, water, and shelter from the elements when officers went to investigate. The absence of any one of those things might have qualified as neglect under state statue—but the presence of all of them makes for a pretty weak case. Still, Drumheller says the sheriff’s department will investigate as thoroughly as they can.

The case fell on animal control officer Doug Raffleson’s desk yesterday. He hasn’t gotten to visit the horses yet, but he’s seen the pictures taken his coworker’s word that the horses were fed, watered, and sheltered. Still, he wants to make sure someone clever didn’t stage it all.

“I’ll go out there a couple more times to check,” he said. If he finds enough reason, he’ll call a vet to do a physical check-up of the horses. There are other reasons for horses to be so skinny, he said. Maybe they haven’t been wormed. Whatever the case, “they should not be that skinny.”

Bobbi says you don’t need to know the law to see that the horses are starving.

“It doesn’t take a lot to see that they’re not fine,” she said. “I can’t imagine that anybody, horse people or not, could look at that animal and go, oh, isn’t he cute, and not notice the bones protruding.”

And with winter quickly closing in, Bobbi worries about the horses’ futures. “Horses can’t maintain body temperature without calories,” she said. “They need calories just to maintain life, otherwise they’ll just keep getting more and more emaciated.”

The case has been passed on to animal cruelty officer Doug Raffleson. There are still things Raffleson can investigate, like medical history and other living conditions.

Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor in Wyoming, punishable by a maximum six months in jail and $750 fine. But the Eva’s are less concerned with the legal repercussions than the horses themselves.

“Law enforcement, they’ve got their hands tied,” Bobbi said. “Horses are our thing. Someone has to stick up for the horses.”


Apparently this pony is usually pretty fat.

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