Animal cruelty charges follow seizure of 20 horses

Bureau of Animal Protection veterinarian Dr Kate Anderson examines a horse while BAP Chief Investigator, Scot Dutcher (left), and Larimer County Sheriff's Posse Deputy Scott Carter (right) observe.
Bureau of Animal Protection veterinarian Dr Kate Anderson examines a horse while BAP Chief Investigator, Scot Dutcher (left), and Larimer County Sheriff’s Posse Deputy Scott Carter (right) observe.

Twenty horses have been seized in Colorado and their owner cited for animal cruelty.

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputies and posse members undertook the operation along with agents from the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Protection.

They seized the horses on Thursday from a property in the 500-block of Raspberry Lane in Livermore, Colorado, just south of the Wyoming border.

Carl Preyss, 57, was charged with 20 counts of animal cruelty, a class one misdemeanor.

Several horses appeared to be underfed and there was no water available to the entire herd, the sheriff’s office said.

The horses first came to the attention of the sheriff’s office last year after complaints of stray horses that appeared to be underfed.

At that time the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office made arrangements for hay and water for the animals and continued to monitor them.

In May last year, a deputy and a posse member, who has received livestock investigation training through the Bureau of Animal Protection, examined the animals and determined several of them to be underfed.

One of the 20 horses seized by the Larimer County Sheriff's Office and Bureau of Animal Protection.
One of the 20 horses seized by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Animal Protection.

Preyss, the owner of the horses, was told of the concerns about the lack of food and water.

Subsequent checks showed improvement in their condition and a private veterinarian provided a letter indicating the horses were not being neglected or abused.

In late December, deputies were in the area and once again observed no visible food or water available for the horses.

After another visit in February by agents with the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Protection and the Sheriff’s office, it was decided a search warrant would be obtained to perform a formal evaluation of the animals.

Officials from the state veterinarian’s office conducted the evaluation on Thursday. Sheriff’s deputies seized the horses based on lack of water.

A private veterinarian will also evaluate the horses, treat them and oversee their recovery.

The sheriff’s office was also assisted by the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office, the Larimer County Humane Society and a Colorado Department of Agriculture brand inspector.

The horses were taken to the Harmony Equine Center, a private nonprofit facility that rehabilitates neglected and mistreated horses that have been removed from their owners by law enforcement authorities.

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2 thoughts on “Animal cruelty charges follow seizure of 20 horses

  • March 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Harmony Equine Center is affiliated with the Dumb Friends League which is a kill shelter. Who knows what the fate of those seized horses ultimately will be.

    Without official written and photographic documentation and inventory of seized horses and follow-up by an independent investigative agency, purported rescue organizations can take advantage of media exposure for a seizure, then “cherry pick” rescued horses that are easy and quick to place or get higher dollar because they require the least rehab $, then many simply ship the rest to a feedlot for slaughter, haul them out to public lands and dump them, or haul them to landfills and put a bullet in them. You think your donations are going to animals?

    Investigate, follow up, make sure words match actions and there is 100% transparency. Most horse rescues are nothing but horse trader rackets with a 501(c)3 exemption. Fancy barns and all.

    • March 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Hi Little Birdie,

      The Dumb Friends League’s mission as an open-admission shelter, throughout our 103 years of service to the homeless pets and the people in our community, is to open our doors to all animals in need – whether they’re old, ill, injured, unwanted or lost. No animal is ever turned away, and we have no set time limit for how long a pet can remain in our care.

      The Harmony Equine Center works a little differently than our main facilities. The equine center receives and cares for abused and neglected equines that are removed from owners by law enforcement authorities or agents commissioned by the Colorado Bureau of Animal Protection. We house the horses until a decision is made through the court system as to their disposition. Every horse that enters our facility is examined by an independent veterinarian. Per law, the individual involved in the case can also have their own veterinarian examine the seized animals. We do not “cherry pick” which horses come to our facility, and we individualize treatment for every horse in our care. As for your comment on our adoption fees, the fees we charge don’t come close to covering the cost of care put into each horse.

      More information can be found at If you are in the Denver area, we also encourage you to set up an appointment to tour the Harmony Equine Center and our shelters.


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