EL PASO COUNTY – An El Paso County man is facing felony charges after the remains of two emaciated horses were found on his property and ten others severely malnourished horses were removed. Brian Holloway, 53, turned himself in at the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office Thursday evening. He faces two counts of felony Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and ten counts of misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals.
“This is probably the worst case that many of our rural enforcement deputies have seen to date,” said Jacquline Kirby, spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
The horses were removed from Holloway’s property on March 11 and have been receiving treatment at the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center in Franktown. Two of the animals were euthanized and veterinarians are closely watching the recovery of at least three others.
The center’s director Garret Leonard said the horses have sand in their stomachs from eating dirt and the prolonged malnutrition may have permanently damaged their bodies.
“Their bodies start to eat the bone marrow, eat the fat, eat the muscle, and so it’s basically creating heart problems for these horses.”
Kirby explained the delay of more than a month from the removal of the animals to the application of an arrest warrant against Holloway is due to the fact that felony charges require investigators to meet a higher threshold of evidence.
“The threshold that they have to meet for the felony cruelty to animals is the intentional torture causing death,” Kirby said.
Necropsies were performed on the two dead horses and measurements of the amount of fat in the horses’ bone marrow were used as proof for the warrant application.
“This report indicated a bone marrow fat content of 3.91% and 7.29% respectively,” wrote Deputy Scott Brettell in the arrest affidavit. “The typical bone marrow fat content of a healthy horse is between 63% – 99%.”
Holloway was released from jail on $1,000 bond. A court date for the formal filing of charges has not yet been scheduled.
Court records show Holloway and a woman named Linda Crowe were defendants in a civil case that resulted in a judgment against them for more than $2 million. That case was closed on March 18.