Pack Horse Abuse Appeal Yields Jail Sentences, Fines

A father and son found guilty of overworking and neglecting their horses during a pack trip in Montana in 2008 were each handed six months in jail during their appeal last week.

Craig Heydon and his son, Curtis Heydon, will also have to pay almost $12,000 each in restitution to the Bitterroot Humane Association for the care of the horses. They are also required to pay almost $10,000 each for their confinement and about $3,000 each for trial costs.

Able when found on trail
Able six weeks later

Top, the horse named "Able," when he was found on the trail. Below, Able today.

"I think that justice was served," said Kathy Good, president of the Bitter Root Humane Association, noting that Able and Diamond, the two horses that were in the worst shape, look very different today due to the care of the humane association and their foster homes. "It just shows how neglected these horses were, and what feed and care will do."

The judge gave custody of three of the Heydons' horses (Able, Diamond, and Casino) to Ravalli County, but as the jury acquitted the Heydons of the charges dealing with their fourth horse, Magic, custody will still have to be worked out between the state and the Heydons.

Read more: Second Pack Horse Cruelty Trial Yields Guilty Verdicts

About the Author

Liz Brown

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More