Monticello Live reports an acquittal in what's believed to be the first prosecution under a new state felony animal cruelty law.
It's gruesome. A man beat a Shetland pony to death with a baseball bat. The defense was that the man believed he'd been given instructions to kill the sick animal. Tying the animal to a tree and hitting it repeatedly as it struggled seemed to be the chosen method.
Under the new law there were two questions facing the jury: “Did he kill the horse?” and “was it torture?”
It was admitted throughout the trial that Briney killed the horse, but the legal definition of torture, as presented in court, included the word “knowingly”.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Zach Vaughn told the jurors, “It doesn’t matter if he hit the horse 1 time, 3 times, or 40 times, it’s still torture.”
Defense attorney Chris Hayes told them, “he believed the horse was suffering, and he acted in the only way he knew how to put the horse out of it’s misery.”
Descriptions of the treatment of this horse are not suitable for children -- or any other living things.