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Wyoming Outfitter Pleads Not Guilty To Animal Cruelty Charge [VIDEO]

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(Video from News of the Horse)

A Wyoming outfitter whose treatment of a horse that allegedly resulted in the horse’s death leaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty in Teton County Circuit Court.

Forest Stearns was charged after a Teton County Sheriff’s investigation beginning Aug. 9.

The day before, deputies responded to a call of a horse tied down in an inhumane manner and went to Wilson where Stearns had the horse, according to statements from the Sheriff’s Office.

They found the horse, and interviewed Starnes, veterinary experts, and the Wyoming Brand inspector. Deputies determined the methods, while outdated, were used legally.

But the next day, the Sheriff’s Office received a call that the horse died. Deputies again returned to the scene. They interviewed Stearns, who was cooperative and surrendered the carcass for further examination.

Meanwhile, a video about the incident was appearing on social media. The video elicited a strong emotional response, according to the Sheriff’s Office, which also received a lot of calls and emails about the incident.

On Aug. 25, a deputy sheriff cited Stearns on a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.

Earlier that day, a deputy interviewed a witness who left the area soon after the Aug. 8 incident, went on a backpacking trip, and returned last week..

“The witness was able to provide credible evidence that the horse was tied to the ground for a minimum of three hours,” according to the Teton County Sheriff’s Office. “Prior to receiving this statement, investigators did not believe there was enough substantiation of evidence to warrant the citation.”

Circuit Court Clerk David Baker said a trial will likely be scheduled about four months from now. A date has not been scheduled.

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