Oklahoma Horse Transporter Cleared on Cruelty Charges

An Oklahoma man accused of animal cruelty in connection with the transport of horses in October has been acquitted of the charges against him.

On Oct. 31, 2010, John Caldwell of Wetumka, Okla., was hauling 15 horses from Colorado to Oklahoma when fellow motorists traveling on Interstate Highway 70 in Salina, Kan., alerted him that some of horses inside the trailer had fallen. Caldwell subsequently pulled off the road into a truck stop to check on the animals and discovered two horses down inside the vehicle. One had sustained fresh wounds from the fall and was bleeding from the mouth. Another was injured by other horses after it had fallen inside the trailer.

Both animals were euthanized by a veterinarian called to the scene. The remaining horses were transported to Oklahoma the following day.

Caldwell was later charged with one count each of misdemeanor cruelty to animals and one count of failing to meet animal care requirements.

At the time of the incident, Caldwell told law enforcement authorities the horses belonged to an Arkansas man who had provided the animals for a hunting expedition in Colorado.

On June 9 Salina Municipal Court Judge Brenda Stoss found Caldwell not guilty on the animal cruelty charges, said Salina Municipal Court Clerk Amanda Swolensky. The failing to meet animal care requirements charge was dismissed with prejudice. The dismissed without prejudice ruling is the equivalent of a not guilty finding.

Caldwell was unavailable for comment on the verdict.

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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