Young Doc Bar
The owner of Kountz Arena is charged with felony animal cruelty after his stallion was recently discovered missing part of his leg. Dayle Kountz, of Montana, allegedly kept the horse alive for semen collection but failed to provide the animal with veterinary treatment.
“I’m ecstatic, I have goosebumps,” says Sammy Jo. She is the competitor who made the grim discovery of the stallion with a bloody stump and body sores at the Bozeman arena in late March.
Jo and others contacted authorities regarding the condition of the aged stallion named Young Doc Bar and a calf barely alive. “I think it is a pretty big example that we need to pay attention, we need to be aware of what is going on around us,” Jo added.
Kountz is charged with aggravated animal cruelty and cruelty to animals. Both are felonies. This isn’t the first time Kountz has had to answer for his criminal misdeeds. He was convicted of misdemeanor cruelty to animals in 1999.
“I’m glad there’s some kind of consequences – people need to be responsible for things like this,” Jo says. “You guys [Horse Authority] had a huge part in this.”
Deputies and a local veterinarian responded to Kountz Arena. Charging documents state Deputy Dane Vranish spoke to the defendant by phone and was told the horse never received veterinarian treatment after he “got his foot caught between panels and hurt the foot real bad”.
That was around Christmas. Kountz allegedly characterized the injury as being healed, and that “he was going to get some semen out of the horse and then put him down.”
A photo shows the horse’s foot still attached on February 9, 2015, but with a severe laceration. According to witnesses, the leg was not kept bandaged.
Dr. Gary Cook, DVM recommended euthanasia for the horse and the comatose calf. Kountz told the deputy he would shoot them when he returned to town that night, according to court documents. The defendant emailed photos showing both animals deceased, as ordered by authorities.
Authorities initially closed the case with a warning. Multiple witnesses came forward, including a former employee and an ex-boarder, which led detectives to reopen the case.
Equine veterinarian Ted Vlahos, DVM, who practices in Montana and Wyoming, consulted on the case. He has extensive training in equine fracture repair, equine amputation, and prosthetics. Dr. Vlahos concluded, after reviewing the reports and photographs, that the horse suffered an avascular injury to the limb, which resulted in necrosis and subsequent sloughing of the distal limb.
Dr. Vlahos states, “the failure to provide medical care from a licensed veterinarian in the case of catastrophic failure of the limb as in this case clearly presents inhumane and cruel treatment of the horse.” He adds the only option for the horse was amputation and prosthesis or euthanasia.
Our attempt to reach Kountz by phone was unsuccessful on Tuesday. When we spoke to Kountz last month, he denied keeping the stallion alive for breeding purposes.
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