REPORTED BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Written by FELICIA FONSECA and TERRY TANG
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The owner of several horses on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, where tourist excursions to towering waterfalls depend on the animals, has been charged with animal cruelty and neglect.
The charges were filed against Leland Joe after FBI Special Agent James Kraus visited his property on April 5 and reported there was no visible food or vegetation for five horses, and one horse appeared extremely thin, malnourished and had open sores and wounds.
Joe, a resident of Supai, made an initial appearance Friday in federal court in Flagstaff on four felony counts including cruel neglect that resulted in physical injury of an animal and cruel mistreatment between February and early April.
He also faces charges of intentionally, knowingly and recklessly failing to provide medical attention to prevent further animal suffering.
Richard Juarez, a federal public defender representing Joe, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Most of the 600 tribal members on the reservation, known for the blue-green waterfalls that attract tourists from all over the world, work in the tourism industry. The reservation is deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon and accessible only by horse or mule, helicopter or foot.
Bureau of Indian Affairs Lt. Scott Small said in court documents that Joe had informed him that the thin horse had been that way for at least nine months. Furthermore, Small said, he discussed the condition of all the horses with Joe on several occasions and even offered to buy them so they could go to an animal rescue group.
The animal cruelty charges come two days after a group called Stop Animal Violence called the reservation a “death camp” for pack animals and alleged the horses and mules are starved, physically abused and overworked. • Continue reading »
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Featured Image: Nicholas Pappagallo, Photographers Adventures Club (Flash Flood Survival Story).