Logan charged in horse-hitting incident
Darrell L. Logan, 39, of Gainesville, has been charged with animal abuse in connection with allegations that he hit a horse with a shovel. The incident was depicted in a video that has been widely circulated through social media.
A criminal summons was issued in the case, setting Logan’s initial court appearance before Associate Circuit Judge Raymond Gross at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13.
The video was shared at least 5,000 times before it was taken down, and people from all over the country showed concern and anger. The Times received several Facebook messages asking that the shocking video be investigated, and the sheriff’s office also reportedly received several calls about it.
According to the probable cause statement written by Ozark County Chief Deputy Winston Collins, the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department was contacted on Aug. 13 by Kathleen McDaniel, an investigator with the Humane Society of Missouri, who told the officer she’d received a report of an abused animal at a residence on Misty Lane in Gainesville. The alleged incident had been video-taped, McDaniel said.
“I observed a person identified as Darrell Logan who struck a horse on the head and later on the rear of the horse with a large shovel,” Collins wrote. “The second strike on the rear of the horse caused the shovel handle or shaft to break.”
Collins said he went to the residence and spoke with someone other than Logan who agreed to allow the officer to inspect the animal.
Collins said he did not see any noticeable injuries on the horse, and he confirmed the identity of the horse from a still image captured from the video the Humane Society investigator had provided. The officer showed the photo to the woman who was at the house, and she reportedly told Collins it was the same horse that was in the photo/video involved in the shovel incident.
After Collins inspected the horse, he reportedly received a phone call from Logan. The officer told Logan about the complaint and asked him to come to the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office as part of the investigation.
Logan met with Collins at the sheriff’s office around 8:48 a.m. Friday, Aug. 14. The defendant was Mirandized and signed a waiver, agreeing to speak with officers about the incident.
“I played the video for Mr. Logan to watch. Mr. Logan acknowledged the incident and informed me he was the person who struck the horse, and it was his child on the horse at the time of the incident,” Collins wrote.
“Mr. Logan explained the shovel used to strike the horse was aluminum and the handle was weak…. I perceived this reasoning was an attempt to minimize the severity of the event. Mr. Logan explained the horse in question was difficult to ride and/or would not follow commands,” Collins’ report says. “Furthermore, Mr. Logan explained different training examples and provided his expertise in general horse knowledge.”
Logan reportedly told the officer the buckskin horse had been in his possession for the past two months. He said the shovel incident had occurred three or four weeks prior to the interview, the document says.
Classification and potential punishment
In Missouri, animal abuse is charged as a class A misdemeanor.
According to the Missouri Revisor of Statutes, under 578.012, a person commits animal abuse if he or she “purposely or intentionally causes injury or suffering to an animal.” The statute distinguishes animal abuse from animal neglect by saying that, in animal abuse, the defendant acts willfully.
If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, Logan could face up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,000.
In Missouri, animal abuse is only charged as a felony if the defendant was previously found guilty of animal abuse or the animal’s suffering was the result of torture or mutilation consciously inflicted while the animal was alive.
If the elements of this case had fit those parameters, it could have been charged as a class E felony, which carries a sentence of up to four years in jail.