Colorado Rancher Sentenced in Abuse Case

A Colorado man will serve one year in a work release program for maltreating 17 horses on his Jefferson County ranch.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputies seized the animals from their owner, John McCulley, in May 2009 after a tipster reported seeing a downed horse on the property. County animal control officers and a veterinarian deemed the animals emaciated, in need of dental and farrier care, and suffering from rashes and infections.

The seized horses were among 28 animals removed from McCulley's ranch in June 2007. McCulley regained custody of the horses in 2008 after a judge ruled the warrant for their seizure was flawed.

Following the 2009 seizure, McCulley was charged with one count of felony aggravated animal cruelty and multiple misdemeanor animal cruelty counts. He later pleaded guilty to the felony charge.

On May 28, Jefferson County District Court Judge Jane Tidball sentenced McCulley to one year in the county jail work release program, five years intensive supervision probation. She also ordered that he have no contact with animals, and to take animal abuse prevention classes.

The horses now reside in adoptive homes.

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.

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