Appeals court upholds animal abuse conviction over horse's death

By Charmaine Little | Dec 1, 2018

KANSAS CITY — The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District affirmed the animal abuse conviction of a man whose horse died while pulling a cart.

Roy Vance Hammond argued he was simply training the horse and not violating animal cruelty laws, and filed an appeal claiming that the lower court didn’t let his attorney read the Missouri Constitution’s right-to-farm amendment to the jury and that it refused his request for the jury to be informed of a change in instructions.

However, the appeals court said the jury had convicted Hammond as having intentionally harmed the animal, and therefore the right-to-farm clause did not apply.

Hammond was on the cart with another passenger when he allegedly insisted that the horse keep pulling even as it was leaving a bloody trail, according to the court ruling.

During his trial, the jury found Hammond guilty of the misdemeanor of animal abuse—rather than a felony—and he was sentenced to a year in jail.

Judge Alok Ahuja of the Missouri Court of Appeals in the Western District wrote the decision, dated Nov. 13. Judges Karen King Mitchell and Edward R. Adrini concurred.

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