Horror and outrage continue after allegations of animal cruelty emerge from Kountz Arena in Montana. A stallion missing part of his lower leg was discovered lying in his own filth on Saturday by a first-time competitor at the Bozeman venue.
“I lost it and started making others aware,” says Sammy Jo. Nearby, she also found a calf that appeared to be dead. Unable to move, it was still alive. Jo and others called the authorities seeking help for the animals.
“I thought, My God, his foot is gone,” says Kristie Townsend when she approached the pen. “His eyes are dead. Then I realized it was more than the foot missing. It appeared his pastern was gone too.”
The 1996 APHA stallion named Young Doc Bar was advertised on the Kountz Arena website as available for stud in 2015. The information has been removed.
“His body was broken and oozing. It made me sick. His front legs were so swollen. There was no bedding. His feet were so overgrown,” Townsend painfully recalls.
A deputy from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s office and a veterinarian responded to the arena. The veterinarian recommended euthanasia for the stallion and calf, according to Jo.
While the deputy was outside, Jo says Kountz Arena workers put a wrap on the horse’s stump, cleaned the pen, added shavings, and put a halter on the horse. The horse was later coaxed to get up and was shipped by horse trailer on three legs to an unknown location.
Townsend says she received a message from Kaylee Kountz’s Facebook account late Saturday. The message states the stallion was in a bad accident in December and that after Christmas he was taken to the vet. “The foot sadly fell off under a month ago. We knew we needed to put him down, which was planned.” The message claims the horse was laying with a bullet in his head after the day’s incident.
Undersheriff Dan Springer told us late Tuesday that both the stallion and calf have been put down. He said they received photos of the deceased animals this morning, but didn’t know how or when the animals were euthanized. Undersheriff Springer said it is an active investigation that will take time.
Jo, formerly an equine vet tech, is now an assistant trainer at a breeding farm. She says, “animals do not need to be subjected to their poor caretaking skills.”
Kountz Arena isn’t just a horse show venue, but also offers horse boarding, summer horse camps, and horse clinics, according to its website. The arena’s manager Cody Kountz did not return our call seeking comment.
Saturday was the first of a three-part Spring Open Show Series hosted by Summit Show Management. The company announced it will not continue hosting shows at Kountz Arena. The group’s management says it will announce a new venue soon.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin adds that the Department of Montana Livestock is also assisting with the investigation.
“I don’t get how people can do that to an animal,” says Christa Wortman. “There is no justification. I will not turn my back on what these animals went through.”
Wortman says she wants to see felony criminal charges filed against those responsible for allowing both animals to suffer.
Stay with us as we continue following this investigation.
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