In a sad final resolution of a case of animal cruelty against a feedlot operator in Los Lunas, prosecutors were unable to prove the primary charges of the case. Results of the proceedings were made publicly available by the media starting on Dec. 4, 2013 for Dennis V. Chavez. The only result that “stuck,” was his guilty plea on Nov. 25 to four counts of not having a bill of sale for the animals. The cruelty charges were unproven because a paid expert veterinarian was unable to state that the horses died as a result of abuse.
Yet, there are overwhelming images – both on video and on photographs – that tend to corroborate animal cruelty. The pictures taken by Animal Angels depict the last hours of severely emaciated and suffering horses. It was clear from these images that an end to their obvious pain was required. The horses were eventually euthanized.
Chavez, who is also a “private dealer of horses,” has shipped upwards of 18,000 horses to Mexico for slaughter yet he neatly avoided prosecution on these animal cruelty charges. The Chavez case fell apart when the veterinarian was unable to confirm the horses were victims of animal cruelty and died of abuse. The veterinarian also could not tell whether there was any delay in euthanizing the animals.
All other charges ended up being dismissed in Chavez’s plea arrangement. Further, according to the Chavez attorney, Gary Mitchell, the horses found on Chavez’s property had been dropped off without his knowledge.
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