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Ranch hand arrested on charges of animal abuse
- Shelby Case
- Central Oregonian - Features
>Geraldo Morales is accused of abusing a horse and a dogA man who has worked at a Crook County ranch faces trial in April on charges that he abused a colt, causing it to die, and that he abused a dog.
Geraldo Morales, 25, has been indicted on one charge of first-degree criminal mischief, two charges of first-degree aggravated animal abuse, and one count of second-degree animal abuse.
"I can tell you that the trial date is set for April 22, 2008, at 9 a.m.," said Crook County District Attorney Gary Williams. "I can tell you that three of the charges are Class C felonies and the fourth charge is a Class B misdemeanor, which involves a separate incident than the first three counts. The fourth count involves a dog and the first three involve a three-month-old colt."
"The defendant has entered a plea of not guilty and there is a status hearing on April 17 at 2 p.m., followed by the trial on April 22," Williams said, adding that Morales pleaded not guilty on Oct. 15, 2007.
Morales is being represented by Bend attorney Mike Seidel.
According to the indictment, on about July 11, 2007, Morales committed first-degree criminal mischief to a horse belonging to Maynard Alves. According to the indictment, the injuries totaled at least $1,000. On about the same day, Morales allegedly "did unlawfully and maliciously kill an animal, to-wit: a horse, by kicking (it)....", resulting in the charge of first-degree aggravated animal abuse. Another count of alleged aggravated animal abuse also occurred on July 11, in which the defendant kicked the colt and put a water hose up its nose. On June 15, Morales allegedly threw a puppy into the air, injuring the animal.
Later, Crook County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Estes arrested Morales, and Williams provided a copy of Estes's police reports to the Central Oregonian.
Estes was sent via dispatch to 16301 NW O'Neil Highway, and contacted Alves, the ranch owner, according to the police report. According to Alves, two of his employees had witnessed the incident. According to one of the workers, the three employees were working horses, and one said a halter had been placed on the colt and that it began trying to break free from Morales.
One witness said "Geraldo began yelling and then she believed he was punching the horse in the upper area, but her mare had passed between them and she could not see exactly what was going on, but then stated that he began kicking the colt in the chest area and the colt went down to the ground. Geraldo then continued kicking the baby while it was down."
According to Estes's report, "this event sickened her and she had to walk out of the stables." She later said Morales apologized to others after the incident.
The other employee was "holding the colt and Geraldo had the other colt, which was the smaller of the two and that [the other employee] was holding the mare, and they were moving them around in the stable stalls."
The employee said Morales had become angry after he had put a halter on the colt and it pulled away. The worker said Morales had kicked the animal about four or five times that he saw.
Additionally, according to the woman employee Morales had ordered them to get a water hose.
"He then stuck the water hose in the horse's nose several times, indicating that this would make him get up," Estes wrote. "When the horse did not get up, he knew he had gone too far."
Estes said Alves told him the colt was valued at $2,500 and "that the horse had received veterinary care for three days, with several hours on the bill totaling $750."
"As a result, the veterinarian reported that the neck of the colt had been broken and the veterinarian had to put the colt down on the third day," the deputy wrote. "I asked if the colt was still available to photograph and he said that they had already buried it, but that the veterinarian records would be available to us."
A Redmond veterinarian performed the work.
In a separate incident from June, one of the employees had told the deputy that Morales had a new puppy.
"He had it on a leash quite a bit and the puppy was only a few weeks old," Estes wrote. The dog was a miniature Jack Russell Terrier. The worker said Morales had been working with horses and the dog was running around.
"Geraldo tried to call the dog over and the dog laid down in a cowardice position. This angered Geraldo, so he ran over and picked up the dog, while standing inside the stables and threw it through the air, which she described to be between six to eight feet high and covered approximately 20 feet, and landed on its face on the concrete pad just outside the doorway," the deputy wrote. "The dog yelped and just laid there."
According to the woman employee who talked with the deputy, "it took quite a while for the dog to gain all of its senses back."
"She was uncertain if it caused any permanent damage or not, but that he is reported to still have the dog," Estes wrote.
On July 18, Deputy Estes went to the 60000 block of Johnson Ranch Road, which is about three miles inside Deschutes County. There he contacted Morales.
"He started off by telling me that he had a list of dozens of horse trainers and horse people that would support the way that he handled the horse," Estes wrote. Morales later claimed that the horse kicked him. Regarding the dog, Morales said he did not want the animal to be trampled by the horses, so he "grabbed it and tossed it out of the way."
Estes arrested him at the residence.