Not Guilty Plea Entered in Montana Cruelty Case

A Montana couple accused of maltreating horses on their Carbon County ranch have pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them.

Earlier this month, authorities from the county Sheriff's Department and the Montana Department of Livestock discovered more than 60 animals residing on a ranch owned by Jack and Terry Martin. Based on veterinary examinations, authorities deemed half of the animals to be malnourished.

On Feb. 17, County Attorney Alex Nixon charged each of the Martins with one misdemeanor count and 26 felony counts of animal cruelty. If convicted, the pair could face penalties of up to one year in the county jail and $1,000 in fines for the misdemeanor count. Each felony carries penalties of up to two years incarceration in the Department of Corrections and fines up to $2,500.

On Feb. 25 the Martins appeared in Carbon County District court where they pleaded not guilty to all charges, said a spokesman for Carbon County Attorney Alex Nixon.

The Martins were unavailable for comment.

No court date has been set.

Meanwhile, the horses remain on the Martins' property where volunteers from the Beartooth Humane Alliance in Red Lodge are providing feed and care. The Humane Society of the United States is helping to provide resources, and the Carbon County Sheriff's Department is monitoring the horses' care.

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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