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2 Utahns indicted for alleged role in horse slaughter operation

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:05pm



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SALT LAKE CITY — A federal grand jury says two Utah men who bought horses in a BLM auction were actually going to sell them for slaughter, which is against the law.

Bureau of Land Management investigators pulled over an 18-wheeler in Carbon County, near Helper, on Aug. 5. Inside that truck: 64 horses the BLM says were eventually going to be slaughtered in Mexico.

The BLM said they spent months looking into this case, and when they figured they had enough evidence they moved forward.

Those horses were taken off a truck owned by DK Ranches in Willard, Utah, and moved to the Wild Horse Adoption Center in Herriman. They were then bought at a BLM auction.

In court papers filed Wednesday, a federal grand jury says the owner of DK Ranches, Dennis Kunz, and another man, Robert Capson of West Jordan, worked together to defraud the BLM.

The government also claims Kunz and Capson violated federal law by lying on the application about their intentions on what the horses were being bought for — that's wire fraud.

When KSL News spoke to BLM officials last month, they said they had to act fast to protect the horses.

"We really take the care and responsibility of these horses very seriously, and so this was an active investigation to potentially keep these horses from going to slaughter," said BLM Wild Horse Program director Gus Warr.

KSL News spoke to Dennis Kunz on the phone Wednesday afternoon. He said this case is completely wrong and he had nothing to do with the horses, claiming he only let Capson borrow his land and his truck to haul the horses to another auction site in El Paso, Texas.

Kunz said the BLM is only trying to make him look bad, and the entire operation was a set-up to make the BLM look good for future funding for the Wild Horse Program.

Both Kunz and Capson will be summoned in court to face the charges in Wednesday's filing.

Email: acabrero@ksl.com

Alex Cabrero

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