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Regional, Monthly All-Breed Horse Magazine • Since 1993
Idaho • Montana • Wyoming • Nevada • Oregon • Utah • Washington

 

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Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com. 


Heydon Father and Son Guilty of

Animal Abuse – Again!


By Dorinda Troutman, RMR Staff Writer

 

Friday, February 26, 2010, 3 pm. Hamilton , Montana

 

     After a 5-day court battle, the two-man, four-woman jury in Montana Judicial District Court returned a verdict in just three hours.

     Curtis Heydon, 39, was convicted of ten out of eleven counts of animal abuse. His father, Craig Heydon, 72, was convicted of nine out of ten counts of animal abuse.

     The verdict was almost the same as the January 30, 2009, verdict of guilty on all 21 counts in Ravalli County Justice Court .

      The Heydons, who live in Georgia , were charged with animal cruelty after being on a back country camping trip with four horses during the summer of 2008 in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Montana and Idaho .

 

     In his closing statement, John Bell, long-time prosecutor for Ravalli County , told the jury to let the photos tell the story.

     “I ask you to look through the photos. They are every bit as revealing as the testimony, and they are not conflicting.”

     Bell also asked the jury to review the veterinarians’ treatments and their medical reports, including those of the veterinarian called by the defense. He asked them to review the intake report at the Bitter Root Humane Society animal shelter when the horses arrived, as well as the emails between Wilderness Rangers and Forest Service personnel who had seen the horses in June and early July.

     Bell went over the timeline of the Heydons’ trip and pointed out that, in mid-July, the horses had been brought out of the Bitterroot Mountains and corralled near Stevensville , MT , at a mini-storage facility. He then asked the jury why the Heydons had chosen to immediately go back into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, into even more remote territory, without getting the horses proper care. This care should have included new shoes, feed, rest and vet care.

     Bell reminded the jury that on more than one occasion Craig Heydon repeated, “There’s nothing wrong with these horses,” as the horses were being confiscated by the Ravalli County Sheriff’s deputies.

 

     In closing arguments, Mat Stevenson, lawyer for the defendants, told the jury that they needed to figure out when “exactly” the Heydons began to abuse their horses.

     Stevenson showed photos of the horses taken in late July, while they stood in a boggy meadow near the Elk Summit Ranger Station in Idaho .

     “This is hyperbole about the horses being thin. They were actually not that thin. They were a little thin, certainly, but you can’t see overwhelming health problems.”

     Standing in front of the jury box, Stevenson instructed, “You must find that moment in time when they (the defendants) supposedly grossly deviated from standard care.”

 

     Finally, Bell closed with a short rebuttal that ended in an analogy.

     “If a family with four children moved in down the street, and no one saw the children for 40 days, and then when they came out of the house they were emaciated and covered in bruises and scrapes, what would people think?”

 

     Judge Jeffrey Langton affirmed bail, asked that the defendants sign a release for extradition, and that they remain within Ravalli and Missoula Counties until sentencing on Wednesday morning, March 3, 2010.

   

Click here for a link to archived articles about the Heydon Abuse Case published in Rocky Mountain Rider Magazine.

 

More information to be posted as soon as possible. Please check back soon.

 

Thank you for reading Rocky Mountain Rider Magazine  

 

There will also be a longer article about the trial in the April Issue of RMR.

 

Reader Comments about the Trial. Click Here!

 

 

Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com. 

 

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