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Images of suspected dead, dying horses in Bonneville County spark outrage online

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: Mar 21 2013 10:29:53 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 22 2013 02:02:31 PM CDT

Caleb James reports.

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho -

A case of suspected animal abuse and neglect in Bonneville County has eastern Idahoans buzzing on social media.

A Facebook fire-storm ignited after shocking images of dead and distressed horses on a Bonneville County farm appeared online.

Reporter Caleb James went to that farm on Thursday. and joins us in the studio with more.

It started with a few photos on Facebook. The photo show what appears to be dead and dying horses on a farm in north Bonneville County on 25th E.

Not long after the photographs were taken dozens of calls came into our newsroom and a flood of e-mails filled station inboxes over just a few days. It was clear eastern Idahoans had seen those pictures, and they weren't happy.

The photos were taken by a woman named Cris Thomas. Our station spoke to her by phone on Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for this story. She said the house on 25th E is owned by Sharon Wilson.

Our station confirmed Wilson lives at the home, and tried to contact her by calling a listed number. The number was disconnected, so a crew went to the house to talk to Wilson, but didn't get far.

Several "No Trespassing" signs are posted throughout the property.

"We do want to go and talk to Sharon and see what her thinking is in keeping these horses, and how she feels about the condition they're being kept in, but obviously we're going to respect those 'No Trespassing' signs while we're here," said reporter Caleb James.
 
From a neighbors property, our crew gathered video of well over two dozen horses all told -- some appearing to show signs of mistreatment.

After a trip to the Bonneville County Sheriff's office we learned the property's owner is currently under investigation.

Sgt. Karl Casperson said because horses fall into a production animal category in the state of Idaho, Bonneville County animal control can only assist in the case.

"We're doing this investigation along with the Department of Agriculture," said Casperson. "They have a designated veterinarian who needs to examine the animal to determine if there's been any neglect."

Casperson said the state veterinarian is scheduled to be on the property on Friday as that investigation continues.

Meantime, the discussion continues on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LocalNews8.

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