UTAH COUNTY — A Weber County rancher appeared in court Wednesday to answer to charges of animal cruelty. Utah County ranchers Trudy and Rory Childs say their horses were in bad condition because of rancher Justin Barrow, with whom they had a contract.
Barrow was booked on 15 counts of animal cruelty last month involving some of the horses belonging to the Utah County ranchers. Wednesday morning, 14 of those 15 counts were dropped.
"Like we knew what was going to happen, all the charges were dropped and we were exonerated," Barrow said.
In January, Barrow pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty, and he said he was never even worried about the charges. He figured once the whole story of how these horses were taken care of got out, there was no way would he be in trouble.
We knew that we took good care of these animals and we spent a lot of money, even when we weren't getting paid
–Justin Barrow, rancher in Weber County
"We knew that we took good care of these animals and we spent a lot of money, even when we weren't getting paid," Barrow said.
Barrow says the 15th count that was not dropped was a rescue horse someone dropped off that has nothing to do with the horses in question.
The Childses had a contract for Barrow to take care of their horses, but when they believed he wasn't doing that, they took their horses back last September. Now, Barrow still has some of the Childses' horses and the lawsuit between them continues. He says they still owe him more than a hundred thousand dollars.
"Definitely, she hurt our family both financially and our family name, and we're not going to take it lying down. We're country boys and we have honor and respect," Barrow said.
Rory Childs said over a phone interview that this is a complicated case but wants people to wait for all the facts, which will come out in court. He's also thankful to the people who have been donating hay to the horses.