Woman gets 30 days for mistreatment of horses

A Rifle-area woman received a 30-day jail sentence today after a jury convicted her of cruelty to animals in connection with her treatment of horses, one of which had to be euthanized.

Pearl Marie Dunlap, who lives on Garfield County Road 259, or Jewell Lane, northeast of Rifle, also was sentenced in county court in Rifle to 18 months of supervised probation, and prosecutors say she is subject to at-will inspection of her animals, large and small, by probation and law enforcement.

According to a county sheriff news release, the sentencing arises from a case involving malnourished horses last winter. A deputy first contacted Dunlap Jan. 4, 2013, regarding a report that a mare and foal in her care appeared to be skinny. The deputy arrived to find several horses on the property with no apparent feed, but was told a large bale of hay was to be delivered soon.

Two days later, the deputy saw no sign of a hay delivery. Deputies were contacted again on Jan. 24, 2013, about a malnourished mare and foal and “again responded to the location whereupon they talked to Ms Dunlap at some length and explained to her that the horses, boarded or not, were her responsibility,” the news release said.

Over the next few days, and following an inspection by a state brand inspector and the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office, it was determined that four boarded horses would be removed from the property as abandoned horses and one of Dunlap’s horses would be taken to a veterinarian for assessment and determination of a final disposition.

The four boarded horses, including the foal, were taken by Mountain Valley Horse Rescue in Eagle, and the fifth horse was deemed distressed and unsalvageable and was euthanized.

On March 20, a deputy returned to assess the condition of five remaining horses.

“One of the horses was emaciated and needed to be separated and fed, the other four were thin and there was no evidence of hay on the property,” the sheriff’s office said.

It said the deputy returned with two bales of hay and spoke with Dunlap, who said hay would be delivered the next day. The deputy returned then and saw no evidence of hay being delivered or provided to the horses, and Dunlap was issued a summons the following day.

She was convicted Jan. 31 after a two-day trial.


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