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Horse owner ordered to get treatment for injured animal

FARMINGTON — A horse owner has been given five days to obtain treatment for one of his horses after the animal was found with a halter embedded in its face.

Patti and Brett Bass were out on a bike ride Saturday along a Farmington trail, near 1525 West and 675 North, when they happened upon a pasture.

"While we were focused on the cranes, all of a sudden two of the horses came running up and just about knocked us over,” said Brett Bass. “They were really aggressive."

A closer look at the horses showed that the animals were in need of medical help. One horse in particular looked like it was in a lot of pain, he said.

“Basically the horse has matured in a halter that's really solid, and it's just deformed its face,” Bass said. "The flesh has grown through it. You couldn't pull it off if you wanted to."

“It turned my stomach, and I was angry,” he said, adding that his wife, who loves all creatures big and small, was heartbroken. He claimed the three other horses had split hooves and had mites around their eyes.

He contacted animal control officials to see if they could help get proper care for the animals. The owner was given five days to get the animals proper care.

On Monday, Clint Thacker, director of the Davis County Animal Care and Control, said the injuries were not life-threatening, and when that’s the case, the actions animal control can take are very limited.

“If they don’t comply, we will escalate enforcement up to a citation of animal cruelty and impound the animals,” Thacker said.

Bass said he was appalled the horses may have to wait up to five days for treatment. He said the horse (with the halter) was visibly in pain as it thrashed its head to and fro.

"I'm not trying to judge him, but you should never let that happen,” Bass said. “There's no excuse for what we saw."

The owner declined to comment.

The Humane Society of Utah is asking the Davis County agency to alter its standard five-day order and require the owner of the horses to seek immediate treatment for his animals.

It said, in a prepared statement, that the horse’s alter has been left on for such a prolonged period of time that it is now deeply embedded in the skin across the horse’s face, which appears to be infected and causing the animal to suffer. Humane Society investigator John Fox called it one of the more severe cases of cruelty he’s seen in his 40 years on the job.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc