GREAT FALLS – A man has been charged in connection with the deaths of more than a dozen horses in Roosevelt County.
Richard Dean Holen is charged with one felony count of aggravated animal cruelty, and five misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.
According to court documents, the original owner of the horses told investigators that Holen agreed to take care of them. Holen reportedly told the owner that he had plenty of pasture land and would take care of them. Holen then brought the horses to land that he leases.
According to court documents, a veterinarian that inspected the carcasses said: “The horses all appeared to be in various states of decay indicating mortality has been occurring over a period of time. The foals appeared to have died first and were in advance state of decay being mostly skeletal remains with few maggots and pupa. Given the life cycle of maggots, death may have occurred ranging from 5 to 20 days.”
The veterinarian went on to state that “evidence suggests dehydration to be the leading cause of death.”
Holen is scheduled to appear in District Court on November 14, according to a Facebook post from Fort Peck Tribal Councilman Jestin Dupree.
Click here to read the charging documents (PDF).
-David Sherman reporting for MTN News