Care and ownership of the five-year-old Shetland pony dragged behind his owner’s pickup truck has been awarded to the Houston SPCA. During the May 13 court hearing, Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Barry Graves concluded that the pony “was cruelly treated.” As a result, Francisco Castillo Cruz, 68, was divested of ownership.
The Shetland pony has been under medical care and treatment at the Houston SPCA. The shelter will continue to nurse him back to health, providing him with much-needed comfort and attention.
Cruz allegedly dragged the little horse behind his truck, stopping only when the animal could not get up. He beat him about the head and face with belt and buckle to force him to his feet. A concerned citizen called 911 to report the awful cruelty as it was occurring.
Sheriff’s Department of Liberty County sent two deputies, Gorden Bean and Robert Dunn, accompanied by Sgt. James Sprayberry, to the scene. The men met up with Cruz at his home in Dayton, Texas.
Bean closely looked over the pony and saw the many scuffs and wounds from the dragging and beatings, including major hide burns on the left side of his body, a damaged left eye and hoof injuries.
In Bean’s opinion, the injury to the pony’s left eye appeared severe enough that the animal could lose the eye.
Sadly all the cruelty resulted, as Cruz told the men, because he was mad at the pony for getting out of his stall and going off the property.
After the officers obtained a seizure warrant, the pony was removed from Cruz’s property and transported to the Houston SPCA facility. He remains there under veterinary treatment. Now with the relinquished ownership by Cruz as ordered by the court, the animal will remain with the Houston SPCA until he regains his health. Cruz has waived his right to appeal.
Judge Graves has seen an increase in animal cruelty cases perpetrated on horses, dogs and cats during the last several months. Graves stressed,
Some owners should exercise more responsibility, compassion and care for their animals and citizens must be ever vigilant for such cases of abuse and report these situations when they are observed.
Cruz faces another court appearance for the felony charge of Cruelty to Animals. He is presently out on $10,000 bond.
Read Rucki's May 8 story about this Shetland: Liberty County Sheriff's office acts promptly on reported animal cruelty
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