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☛ Kountz pleads guilty for animal cruelty 8-18-17

DAYLE KOUNTZ  PLEADS GUILTY FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE

 

OWNER OF BOZEMAN, MONTANA’S  KOUNTZ ARENA CHANGES PLEA

Aug. 18, 2017

Dayle Kountz, right, owner of Kountz Arena, appearing in Gallatin County Court. Photo by Bozeman Chronicle.

According to a Aug. 17 article in the Bozeman Chronicle, Dayle Kountz, the owner of Kountz Arena in Bozeman, Montana, is set to change his plea of animal cruelty to a felony  charge of animal cruelty for failing to provide appropriate medical care for his stallion Young Doc Bar. Kountz and his lawyer are deciding whether he will plead guilty or no contest to the charge but he will be entering a plea next Wednesday, Aug. 23, in Gallatin County District Court before Butte-Silver Bow Judge Brad Newman, whois overseeing the case.

The plea comes as part of an agreement with the Gallatin County Attorney’s Office, which will dismiss the additional counts of aggravated animal cruelty and felony animal cruelty that Kountz has been charged with. The state will recommend Kountz receive a two-year suspended sentence to the Montana Department of Corrections and serve no jail time. However, his lawyer said they will be asking for a deferred sentence.

Kountz, who had previously been convicted of a misdemeanor cruelty to animals in Gallatin County in 1999, was charged at a March 2015 horse show at his Kountz Arena in Bozeman  when it was reported that a horse was missing a foot, lying in his own feces and suffering in a small stall. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office responded, finding the horse named Young Doc Bar – as well as a calf suffering from seizures

Kountz told investigators that the horse was injured in December 2014 when the horse accidentally got his leg caught in a corral panel. He said he sought medical advice and followed treatment recommended by a vet. The animals were euthanized and the sheriff’s office closed the case with a warning; however, several witnesses who were at the arena on the day of the horse show came forward and provided photographs and information the sheriffs officer further investigation.

Therefore, about two months after the show, the county attorney’s office charged Kountz, who sought to have his upcoming trial moved out of Gallatin County, claiming that “inflammatory” editorial and social media attention to the case made it so Kountz would not receive a fair trial. Several news outlets, multiple TV stations, a Facebook page called “Justice for Young Doc Bar” was created and a petition Change.org lobbied for Kountz to be prosecuted; however, Judge Newman denied the request, saying that while news and social media accounts of the case had been “extensive,” it didn’t show widespread community prejudice against Kountz.

However, a felony charge is a very serious crime. A person who commits a felony, upon conviction in a court of law, is known as a convicted felon or a convict. In a move seen as a big win for animal rights activists, the FBI has added animal cruelty to its list of Class A felonies, alongside homicide and arson.

Cases of animal cruelty fall into four categories — neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse, such as cock and dog fighting; and sexual abuse of animals — and the FBi is now monitoring them as it does other serious crimes. Also, starting Jan. 1, 2016, data is being entered into the National Incident-Based Reporting System or NIBRS, the public database the FBI uses to keep a record of national crimes.

It is felt that the FBI’s decision will not only be a way to stop cases of animal abuse but also can help to identify people who might commit violent acts. According to the Christian Science Monitor, psychological studies show that nearly 70 percent of violent criminals began by abusing animals and keeping statistics on such cases can help law enforcement track down high-risk demographics and areas.

In some states, those committing multiple felonies can be double billed or double-sentenced and can receive 20-40 years in prison.

Some of the information in this article came from the Bozeman Chronicle.

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