Plea Deal Ends South Dakota Barrel Horse Theft Case

A South Dakota man has been sentenced to spend the next three consecutive Fourth of July holidays behind bars after pleading guilty to charges connected to the theft and injury of a champion barrel horse last year.

Owner Wendy Halweg and her horse Dually were competing at the Fort Pierre Rodeo, and the horse was taken from the Stanley County fairgrounds on July 5, 2009. Sheriff's deputies later found the horse injured and confined in a corral in another Fort Pierre location.

The horse suffered rope burns severe enough to expose tendons in its legs. The injuries ended the animal's competitive career.

Flint Dahl was later charged with felony grand theft and misdemeanor inhumane treatment of an animal in connection with the incident. Prosecutors dropped the theft charges after Dahl agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charges.

On May 26, Stanley County Magistrate Judge Mark Smith sentenced Dahl to five days in jail to be served during the holiday weekend each year for three years. Dahl also agreed to pay Halweg $25,000 restitution for the horse's career-ending injuries.

Halweg was unavailable for comment.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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