A 68-year-old man alleged to have dragged a Shetland pony along the road behind his pickup in Texas faces an animal cruelty charge.
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department responded to a 911 call around 10.15am on Wednesday over the incident that led to the arrest of Francisco Castillo Cruz.
The member of the public said he saw a man dragging a small black-and-white Shetland pony behind his red pickup truck.
The witness reported that each time the pony stumbled and fell on the road surface, the owner would get out and beat the animal across the head with a belt and buckle. He would then get back in his truck and drag the horse again, the witness reported.
Deputies Gorden Bean and Robert Dunn, along with Sergeant James Sprayberry, drove to the scene and found Cruz, said to be the owner of the five-year-old male pony, at his home just outside Dayton, Texas.
Bean asked to see the horse and found that nearly all the hair and skin on the pony’s left side had been dragged off by the rough road surface.
There was also physical damage to the pony’s hooves and its left eye had severe damage from evidently being struck with the buckle of the belt.
Bean said there was a possibility the pony may lose the left eye due to the injury.
The only reason Cruz gave deputies for abusing the little Shetland pony was the fact that he was “mad” because the horse managed to get out of his stall and wander off his property.
A seizure warrant was obtained from Justice of the Peace Berry Graves by Sergeant Sprayberry and the pony was turned over to a Houston SPCA unit to be taken to their facility for veterinary care.
Although the pony has severe injuries, Bean said he felt he would survive with proper treatment.
Cruz was arrested and charged with cruelty to a livestock animal, a state jail felony. He was placed in the Liberty County jail pending a bond hearing.
Bean said a hearing would be held on Tuesday to determine if the pony should be returned to Cruz or if he will remain in the custody of the Houston SPCA.