It was mid-morning at 10:15 on May 7 when a citizen phoned 911 with an emergency to Sheriff’s Office in Liberty County, Texas. The caller was observing animal cruelty to a little horse and was very distressed, reporting that an adult male was dragging a small pony behind his truck, stopping now and then when it fell down to beat it across the head with a belt to get it back up on its legs.
The abusive man was driving a red pickup truck, dragging a small black and white Shetland pony tied to the back of the vehicle. When it lost its footing, he stopped the truck to beat the horse about the head with a belt and buckle. Once the little horse stood up, the man got back into the truck to pull and drag him again.
Two deputies were dispatched to the reported location, ultimately finding the Shetland’s owner at his home. Deputies Gorden Bean and Robert Dunn were accompanied by Sgt. James Sprayberry to review the incident.
The owner of the five-year-old Shetland is Francisco Castillo Cruz, 68, of Dayton, Texas. He had little to say about his abuse of the animal except that he “was mad because the horse managed to get out of his stall and wander off his property.”
Sprayberry obtained a seizure warrant, issued by Justice of the Peace Graves. The deputies brought the Shetland to the Houston SPCA for medical attention.
The small horse suffered many injuries to his head, left eye, body and hooves. The majority of hair and skin on his left side was dragged off and he had mean-looking abrasions. His hooves and joints were damaged from the dragging as was his left eye and head from being struck with the belt buckle.
Deputy Bean said,
There is a possibility the Shetland pony may lose the left eye due to the injury.
Cruz has been arrested on a cruelty charge. At this time, Cruz is in Liberty County Jail. Bond is expected to be set shortly.
On May 13 authorities will determine whether the little horse will be returned to Cruz, or if he will be kept by the Houston SPCA.
The small animal received injuries to his body but is expected to survive his ordeal with care and proper treatment.
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