Moffat County horse dies after being abused by an unknown party | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County horse dies after being abused by an unknown party

$2,000 reward being offered for information on suspect

Patrick Kelly

Glen and Charlotte Gariner's grandson Alex rides Cricket the horse, who died after being tied up.

Gary Nichols said the death of Cricket the 16-year-old mare is the most abnormal case of animal abuse he has seen in his 15 years as an investigator for Moffat County Sheriff's Office.

On July 6, Cricket's owner Glen Gariner found his beloved horse dead — its hind legs hobbled together and lashed to a fence. He had no idea what happened or why someone would hurt his horse.

Gariner had been working 12-hour shifts at Trapper Mine over the Independence Day weekend. He came home about 5:30 a.m., slept and headed back to work about 4 p.m.

"It's a stressful job," he said.

On his day off, July 6, Gariner was mowing his pasture when he saw Cricket dead on the ground under a tree she typically used for shade. Her hind legs had been bound together and tied to a fence, immobilizing her.

"I was just sickened," Gariner said. "Totally sickening, it's not right. I was mad."

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Nichols said the cause of death is uncertain, but dehydration is a reasonable assumption.

Moffat County Sheriff's Office has not established any suspects and is conducting an investigation. The culprit faces charges of animal cruelty and theft of certain animals, Nichols said.

"Someone had to have put the rope around the horse’s rear hocks," he said. "It wasn't accidental where the horse got tangled up in the rope. It was a deliberate act."

In an effort to apprehend the horse abuser, Gariner initially offered a $500 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.

The reward has since grown to $2,000 as interested parties contributed to the fund over the past week, Nichols said.

"I've been inundated with phone calls today,” he said. "I returned 13 calls."

Nichols said he hopes the increased attention and bigger reward fund will lead to a case-closing tip.

In the meantime, Gariner is left wondering how someone could do this to his family's horse.

"They had to park at my place, walk across the yard, open the gate and go out there and rope her," he said.

To report any information regarding this incident, call Nichols at 970-824-4495.

Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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