N.D. miniature horse death ruled an accident

Farm Forum

BOTTINEAU, N.D. (AP) — An investigation into the September death of a miniature pony near Bottineau, N.D., concluded it was an accident, according to the Bottineau County state’s attorney’s office.

The Bottineau County Sheriff’s Department and North Dakota Stockmen’s Association’s investigated what appeared to be an intentional dragging death. But authorities have ruled the incident an accident and said charges won’t be filed against two young men and a young woman who said they hit the horse that night as a result of the probe, the Minot Daily News reported.

The three told investigators they didn’t report the animal death because they didn’t want to get in trouble. They said they didn’t know how the horse ended up five miles from where it was hit.

Owner Dave Boppre initially said the Shetland pony named Bad Boy was chased, struck with a pickup, then tied to the back of the truck and dragged.

Boppre’s wife, Kathy Boppre, said in a statement released by the state’s attorney’s office that the couple went out looking for the missing pony and found him lying on his side in a ditch.

“The hair was off the side that was up,” Kathy Boppre said in the statement. “We noticed his halter was broke. The officer took pictures and they rolled him over to get his broken halter off. On the other side of him all the hair was off his side and the hide was off his face and the meat was gone all the way to the bone.”

One of the three people in the truck interviewed by investigators said the car was coming over a hill at 50-60 mph and there were two horses at the bottom of the hill facing west. The driver tried to stop and swerve but the pony got spooked and ran straight toward the truck, according to statements.

Fred Frederikson, an investigator with the stockmen’s association, said authorities determined the incident was an accident.

“The lights on the truck were poor from dirt,” he wrote.

Frederikson said the two men kept quiet because of rumors that the horse was being chased and dragged for miles.