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Owner Could Face Charges in Magna Horse Deaths

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Animal doctors at a laboratory in Logan should know by the end of the week how ten horses found in a Magna field over the weekend died. The answer could lead to criminal charges for the animal’s owner.

On Friday afternoon Salk Lake County Animal Services and the Unified Police Department responded to reports that several horses were found dead in a field near 3500 south and 9200 west in Magna. One horse was still alive but in poor condition.

Tom Baldwin, director of the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Library began examining the bodies on Saturday.  In addition to possible dehydration, Baldwin says his lab is considering things like nitrate toxicity in hay, blue-green algae poisoning and water contamination.

“Our emphasis is going to be on finding out from a pathological standpoint, why are these animals expired,” Baldwin says. “Law enforcement is going to then take up the mantle and say well how did that happen?”

Unified Police officers at the scene said there was no available drinking water near the horses.

Department Spokesman Lieutenant Justin Hoyal says if the cause of death is dehydration, the owner could face charges for neglect.

“But that’s going to come once the investigation has been completed and have results from the veterinary’s office from the state of Utah and ultimately being reviewed by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office,” Hoyal says.

Hoyal would not give the name of the owner or any information about the case as the investigation is ongoing. But he says the owner is cooperating with law enforcement. 

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