Gorden Allen Bates cited on suspicion of cruelty
The horse at the center of an animal abuse case in Pinal County is under a veterinarian’s care on a farm in southern Arizona, Pinal County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Michael Minter said Friday afternoon.
He said the horse is recuperating from being beaten and dragged by a truck along East Javelina Drive in Florence.
The horse, whose gender and age were not immediately known, will remain in the custody of the Sheriff’s Department for the duration of the case, Minter said.
Pinal County attorney spokesman Kostas Kalaitzidis said the state Department of Agriculture may have a say in what happens to the horse.
The department oversees the sale and transfer of horses.
Minter said a Pinal County sheriff’s deputy responded to a 911 call Tuesday from someone who said a man was driving a truck with a horse tied to the back bumper by a chain.
The deputy saw impressions on the dirt road from the horse, and then he spotted the truck.
He saw a man beat the horse repeatedly with a PVC pipe while a girl kicked the horse in the head. Both were yelling at the horse to get up from the ground.
The deputy ordered them to stop and arrested each of them on suspicion of animal cruelty, Minter said.
Gordon Allen Bates of Florence and his daughter, who is 13, were cited and released on their own recognizance. Her name was not released because she is a minor.
A deputy who remained with the horse for an hour saw blood dripping from the animal’s nostrils the entire time, Minter said.
He said the horse has new and old injuries: multiple bruises on its rump, cuts on its face and neck, cuts from a tow strap used to drag it, deep cuts on its legs and swelling under one eye where the horse was beaten with the PVC pipe. Forty photographs were taken to document the injuries.
“It’s not a bad-looking horse,” Minter said. He said he didn’t know its name. “I doubt if they named the poor thing,” he said.
Tucsonan Jane Schwerin, president of the local nonprofit People for Animals in the Prevention of Cruelty and Neglect, said she fears the horse will be sold by the Agriculture Department at auction and end up slaughtered in Mexico for its meat.
Schwerin wants the horse to be placed at one of two horse sanctuaries in southern Arizona and to be released from custody as soon as a defense attorney in the abuse case has a chance to examine it.
The case could go to a grand jury, or the Pinal County attorney may file charges without a grand jury, Kalaitzidis said.
On Friday, he said the case remains under investigation.
Minter said, “Until the judge tells us what to do, these people are not going to get (this horse).”
Minter said he didn’t know whether Bates owns other horses.