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Lewis and Clark Co. Sheriff's Office seizes nearly 60 horses in animal neglect investigation

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Posted at 4:20 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 09:51:42-04

HELENA — Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said the total number of horses seized in an animal neglect investigation is now 58. The horses are being kept at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds while veterinarians and the Montana Department of Livestock inspect them.

Dutton said his office will have to hold and care for the horses while any court case goes on. They already purchased some hay, but veterinarians estimate they will need about one ton of hay per day to take care of all the animals.

Dutton is asking for the community’s assistance. Anyone interested in helping provide hay is asked to call LCSO at (406) 447-8204.

Dutton said this is one of the largest animal neglect investigations in his more than 30 years with the sheriff’s office. He said they got help in moving the horses from the U.S. Forest Service, DOL, animal control and volunteers from local ranches.

So far, no arrests have been made. Dutton said DOL and the veterinarians will have to complete their reports before any official charges are filed.

The horses will remain at the Fairgrounds for now. Dutton said it will be up to the courts when and where they can be moved later on.

This story has been updated. Original article below:


The Lewis and Clark Co. Sheriff's Office says it has seized 57 horses as part of an investigation of an animal neglect case.

Sheriff Leo Dutton characterized the neglect as moderate to severe.

The sheriff's office served a warrant and begin moving the animals this morning.

The horses are being moved to the Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds.

Authorities have not released where the horses were taken from but said more than a dozen were already being held at the fairgrounds.

A veterinarian will examine the horses to get a better idea of their condition.

This is a developing story and will be updated.