GREAT FALLS - LaDonna Shea Loney and her husband Colt Laurie Loney have been charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty after law enforcement officers reportedly found 10 malnourished horses on their property just north of Great Falls.
Cascade County sheriff's deputies responded in July 2019 to a home on Chandelle Lane for a report of horses that appeared to be in poor health.
The woman who reported it said the horses belonged to the Loneys, who also lived on Chandelle Lane.
The deputy was not able to locate the Loneys at their home at that time.
The next day, the deputy returned with a livestock inspector. The Loneys were not at home, but the deputy found the horses’ water troughs were empty and there was no hay or grass for them to graze on. Court documents note that the temperature that day was 75 degrees.
The inspector saw one of the horses eating feces from the ground, and said that horses who resort to that do so because they are extremely hungry. The sheriff's deputy observed the horses’ ribs and hip bones were showing and their hooves were cracked.
Deputies were unable to contact the Loneys until Aug. 8 when they met with LaDonna Loney at her home due to her horses being on the neighbor’s property again. LaDonna Loney reportedly said she thought her husband would feed the horses on Saturday but he didn't, resulting in them not having any food or water for some time. The horses were able to find water on the neighbor’s property, and the neighbor also fed them.
Deputies were called to the property three days later because four horses were on the neighbor’s property and had broken through her fence to get food and water. The Loneys were not at home, and officers again noted that they had no water or accessible food. Court documents state the horses were "moderately to very thin" and officials could see visible rib, hip, and backbones on four horses.
Both Colt and LaDonna Loney have been charged with aggravated animal cruelty, a felony. The charge is defined as when a defendant "purposely or knowingly inflicted cruelty to animals on a collection, kennel, or herd of 10 or more animals, namely without justification, purposely, knowingly, or negligently subjected the animals to mistreatment or neglect by failing to provide the animals in his/her custody with food and water of sufficient quantity and quality to sustain the animal's normal health."
All of the horses survived.
LaDonna Loney was arrested several weeks ago in Idaho on suspicious of felony possession of a stolen firearm, felony possession of meth, and conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine.