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Payette County rancher convicted of cruelty in horse deaths

The horses dropped dead of dehydration during a July 2018 heatwave.

PAYETTE COUNTY, Idaho — A Payette County man who allowed his four horses to die of dehydration during triple-digit temperatures last year has been convicted of animal cruelty.

A jury found Ivan Shannon Pearce guilty Wednesday on all four misdemeanor cruelty counts. 

Pearce, the owner of Colt 45 Horse Ranch in New Plymouth, was charged after the horses dropped dead in their pasture off Hurd Lane during a July heatwave. Neighbors told KTVB that the animals' water trough was "bone dry." 

RELATED: Payette County horses drop dead in triple-digit heat

Payette Police Chief Mark Clark told KTVB that Pearce had not filled up the water tanks, and apparently had not checked on his horses for some time before they died. Law enforcement was alerted to the horse's plight by neighbors, some of whom ran hoses onto the property in an attempt to save some of the animals. 

Credit: Courtesy of Lisa Holt
Horse deaths in Payette County

Clark said all four horses died from dehydration. A fifth was severely ill when authorities got involved, but survived. 

RELATED: Court sets trial dates for southwest Idaho man accused in horses' deaths

The police chief said his office had received complaints about Pearce letting his animals escape and treating them poorly for years. 

In Idaho, animal cruelty can only be charged as a misdemeanor and carries up to a year behind bars and a $1,000 fine. Pearce is set for sentencing Jan. 3. 

Credit: Courtesy of Lisa Holt
Horse deaths in Payette County