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A horse was shot and killed Tuesday morning near I-80 and 6800 West just off the Frontage Road.
According to Salt Lake County Animal Services, a witness saw a man bring his horse to the area then let his two dogs attack the animal before he shot the horse in the head.
That witness, Darlene Deleon, says it was among the worst things she's ever seen. "The horse was trying to get away from the dogs that were chewing him up," she said.
Deleon says she turned around and drove back to the scene, but by then the horse had been shot and the man and the dogs were gone.
"I've been on several animal cruelty cases involving horses, but this is a new one," says Officer Robert Lewis with Salt Lake County Animal Services.
It's unclear if anything was wrong with the horse, but officers say this isn't the way to put one down.
"There are better ways of taking care of horses or livestock and resolving and disposing of," Lewis says. "For whatever reason he did what he did. We don't know. If we hopefully get a hold of this gentleman and find out the circumstances behind it and why the situation took place the way it did, then we'll know more."
Investigators say if this is in fact a case of animal cruelty, the man responsible could face felony charges.
Deleon told investigators the man was driving a brown 4x4, possibly a Chevy, pulling a blue or gray 2-horse trailer. She also says the two dogs were black, but no description of the man who shot the horse was provided.
Investigators were able to find a shell casing, but do not know yet if it is related to this shooting.
Lewis says he expects to see more cases of people dumping their animals because people can't afford to care for them in the poor economy.