Owners John Saldate, 60, and Amber Saldate, 34, were charged with one count of animal cruelty each.
Trigger warning: This story contains graphic video and descriptions of animal abuse that readers may find disturbing
A heartbreaking video shows a Colorado couple ruthlessly dragging a horse which is fastened to the back of a pickup truck. The video, which began making the rounds on the internet last year (in November), was quick to spark outrage among netizens who called for action against the pair who forcibly hauled the horse named Trigger down a snow-covered road. Shortly after the clip was shared on Facebook, an investigation was launched into the matter by the sheriff’s office with the assistance of the Colorado Human Society, Grand County Animal Control, and 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, according to CNN affiliate KCNC.
BREAKING: PRESS RELEASE FROM THE 14TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE— Matt Kroschel (@Matt_Kroschel) November 26, 2019
“ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES FILED IN GRAND COUNTY HORSE DRAGGING CASE”
John & Amber Saldate, have both been charged with 1 count of Animal Cruelty, a class one misdemeanor: https://t.co/1fpRAQ9QX3 pic.twitter.com/Mm8cgf3TCW
Assuring the public that the culprits were brought to justice, the Grand Country District Attorney's Officer released a statement saying, owners John Saldate, 60, and Amber Saldate, 34, have been charged with one count of animal cruelty each. "Our phone lines and email accounts are getting covered up with inquiries from people interested in the case. Because these events are now the subject of an active prosecution, our ethical obligations prohibit us from discussing it, but interested persons can attend the public court proceedings if they choose," said District Attorney Matt Karzen in the statement which was posted on Facebook.
In the agonizing video, which was shared by animal lover Allison Richards, Trigger can be seen slipping in the snow near Grand Lake, as the halter tied to a white pickup truck continues tugging him onwards for nearly 100 yards. The distressed animal keeps thrashing his head and bracing his legs as he tries to resist the force pulling him ahead. Even as his hooves slips on the icy route, his cruel masters don't stop. What's more, the woman present inside the vehicle could be heard yelling at the poor, helpless creature. "Cases involving kids and animals are obviously very emotional," Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said. "We need to do our part of the investigation which sometimes takes a little bit longer than what the community is hoping."
INSANITY! What the HELL is wrong with people?!?!?! Drag them behind a truck. #Eyeforaneye— Ess Elle Ess (@Schroederville) November 28, 2019
When news outlet CBS Denver arrived at the owners' house in the presence of authorities, Amber Saldate apologized for her heartless actions. "You make one bad decision sometimes and it can destroy your life," she lamented. "I’ve lost my job over this, I’ve upset a lot of people and I made our horse go through something that he shouldn’t have, you know, I was wrong." Coming to the victim of this incident, Trigger, he was immediately rushed to the veterinarians for evaluation after being rescued. Following an examination of the horse, it was determined that he did not show any obvious signs of trauma.
That being said, Trigger was experiencing some pain and was provided medication to help with it. The horse, who was a new addition to the Saldate family, was seized from the couple by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and taken to the Colorado Humane Society. Meanwhile, Amber and John awaited their court appearance. "I'm very sorry. I get why people are upset," said Trigger's owner. "I was so stupid, I don't know why we did it." According to Sky Hi News, they entered different pleas in the Grand County Court back in June.
While 59-year-old John pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty 33-year-old Amber pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty in a plea deal. Her plea deal outlines a maximum of 30 days in prison, 100 hours of community service, and two years of supervised probation. She is also required to undergo an animal cruelty evaluation and mental health evaluation as well as treatment. Furthermore, Amber has forfeited her rights to Trigger. More details into the case are yet to be disclosed.