A viral video that surfaced last week showing a Wyoming outfitter hog-tying a horse, which later died, is now being investigated.
Neighbor Mary Wendell Lampton captured this video, now at the center of investigation, questioning Forest Stearns, Stearns Outfitting about a horse lying on the ground with its legs tied to a post, violently kicking and bleeding.
According to the Teton County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to the scene on August 8 on the report of Cruelty to Animals. Deputies found the horse was tied down, interviewed the owner, and consulted with veterinary experts and the Wyoming Brand Inspector. It was determined that while outdated, the methods used were legally accepted.
On Wednesday August 9, the sheriff’s office received information that the horse in question had died overnight. Deputies returned to the scene and verified the horse had died. The owner of the horse was interviewed again and voluntarily surrendered the carcass for further examination and testing.
Authorities are now awaiting results from the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory to determine a cause of death.
Stearn, who is claiming the horse died from a heart attack, was investigated for a similar complaint in 2015 and has a rap sheet dating back to 1980s. His prior arrests include battery, domestic violence, reckless endangering, and DUI.
According to Jackson Hole News & Guide, investigators have said if they do establish it was animal cruelty, the charge would be a misdemeanor. Since the video surfaced on social media, animal activists have been vocal — calling for justice for the horse and jail time for Stearns.
Forest Stearns is a monster who must be punished for the torture and resulting death of a helpless horse. https://t.co/yTM0Tls41f
— Kathryn Baker (@greyfel) August 11, 2017
— Sprat24 (@Sprat24) August 16, 2017
— Mary Hirose (@maryhirose) August 13, 2017