A dead horse discovered on a former AQHA breeder's ranch in Muskogee County. Courtesy muskogeenow.com
Eighteen horses were found dead on the Oklahoma farm of a former American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) breeder on Saturday. Dan McWilliams, of Muskogee, is in jail without bond on 23 counts of animal neglect, according to Muskogee Sheriff’s Office Captain Richard Slader.
Among the dead were young horses and six cows. Ten bone piles were not identifiable. “It was horrible,” says Captain Slader, the lead investigator on the case.
“Our main concern was taking care of the ones that were still alive.” Captain Slade states the survivors include two hundred horses and cows in total. While still alive, some were in poor condition and had to be euthanized. Others are infested with parasites.
Authorities served a seizure warrant, allowing them to remove the approximately 98 horses and just over 110 cows from McWilliams’ property. The animals were taken to Pecan Creek Ranch where they are beginning their recuperation with the help of veterinarians. In the next 10 days, there will be a hearing and a judge will determine if the animals should be returned to McWilliams or become property of the state.
McWilliams was an AQHA breeder until the breed association suspended him in late 2006. A representative tells Rate My Horse PRO he was ousted for failing to submit the fees with his stallion breeder report by the deadline. According to the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations, the owner, authorized agent or lessee of every American Quarter Horse stallion must file this report. It shows the names, registration numbers and dates of mares bred for all registered mares during the year. And there are opportunities to file late with additional fees.
A neighbor’s call was the catalyst for the investigation. When McWilliams saw authorities coming, they say he tried to run, but deputies chased him down.
McWilliams is scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday. The prosecutor will decide if he will face additional cruelty and neglect charges.
Stay with Rate My Horse PRO as this story continues to develop.