Rifle woman sentenced to 30 days jail in horse neglect case
RIFLE — A Garfield County woman was sentenced Wednesday to serve 30 days in jail and 18 months supervised probation after being found guilty at a January trial of cruelty to animals charges stemming from a horse neglect case last year.
That means Pearl Marie Dunlap will have to submit to regular law enforcement inspections at her property on County Road 259 east of Rifle to make sure her animals are being properly cared for, per the sentencing handed down by Garfield County Court Judge Jonathon Pototsky.
Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies were first called to Dunlap’s horse ranch in January 2013 on a report that a mare and foal in her care appeared to be malnourished.
“When the deputy arrived several horses were noted to be on the property with no apparent feed,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office announcing the sentencing.
“The deputy was told that there would be a large bale of hay delivered to both pastures soon,” the release said.
However, in a follow-up visit two days later there was no indication that the hay had been delivered, and deputies received another call later that month that the animals were still malnourished.
“Deputies again responded [and] talked to Ms. Dunlap at some length and explained to her that the horses, boarded or not, were her responsibility,” according to the sheriff’s release.
Officials from the Colorado Brand Board and the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office subsequently paid a visit, and decided to remove four boarded horses that had apparently been “abandoned,” according to the news release.
One of Dunlap’s own horses was also taken to a veterinarian for assessment and ultimately needed to be put down, according to the sheriff’s office. The other four horses were turned over to Mountain Valley Horse Rescue in Eagle.
During another follow-up visit to Dunlap’s ranch two months later, deputies again found no evidence of hay on the property and determined that the remaining five horses were again malnourished.
Deputies returned with two bales of hay and spoke with Dunlap, who again said hay was to be delivered the next day.
“On March 22, 2013, after numerous opportunities to feed and care for her horses, Ms. Dunlap was issued a summons for cruelty to animals,” according to the sheriff’s release.
Dunlap was found guilty of the class one misdemeanor charge by a six-person jury after a two-day trial in the Rifle County Court on Jan. 30 and 31.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Andrew Huntsman and Ralph Smalley were chosen by the seniors to give the class address during Basalt High School’s graduation ceremony on Saturday. This had the two BHS teachers questioning the legitimacy of those diplomas they were about to hand out.