A Utah horse trainer convicted of animal cruelty for the dehydration deaths of four horses was given a plea resolution on appeal. Shamus Haws’ conviction was dismissed after he donated $10,000 to a horse related non-profit and completed more than 50 community service hours.
The Running U Livestock owner appealed his conviction after being sentenced by a judge in November. The case was heard in justice court, which is not a court of record. Defendants can appeal for any reason, not just based on errors made during the trial, according to the prosecution.
Haws was charged with 11 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty in September 2014 after 10 of his horses died
from dehydration, according to necropsies.
At trial, a jury convicted Haws, of Erda, of four counts of animal cruelty. He was acquitted of seven counts.
The state said it spoke to jurors after the trial. They revealed they did not find Haws guilty for those seven horses’ deaths because the equines’ American Quarter Horse Association papers were in his company’s name, not his, like the other four.
Haws was sentenced
to 50-hours community service and a fine of $1360 by the court.
“We wanted accountability and we got it,” Deputy Salt Lake District Attorney Josh Player says. “The jury gave it and we got some more.”
Haws completed the terms of the his agreement with the state including: fixing the watering system that caused the issue; improving the supervision over his horses; donating $10,000 to the Utah Horse Council to educate others about good horse husbandry, proper horse care, and horse welfare; and completing more than 50 hours of community service. Haws’ wife, Jolyn Haws, sits on the Utah Horse Council’s Board of Directors.
Player says he hopes this case sends the message that if you fail to care for your animals you will be held accountable.
Haws’ defense attorney did not respond when we asked for a comment.