20 May 2011
Posted in Articles
Police say two men could face animal-cruelty charges after they were arrested Friday night on suspicion of abandoning a horse in a rural area of Riverside.
Juan Jose Hidalgo Rodarte, 50, and Cresenciano Castro Reyes, 44, were taken into custody and booked at the Presley Detention Center in Riverside. Jail records indicate that Castro Reyes is being held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, with bail set at $5,000.
No jail records were available for Hidalgo Rodarte.
Witnesses spotted the two men about 8 p.m. riding into the Hidden Valley Nature Center in western Riverside, pulling a horse behind them, said John Welsh, spokesman for Riverside County Animal Services in a news release.
They were later seen riding out of the center without the horse, Welsh said.
Witnesses called police and officers found and detained the two men, Hidalgo Rodarte and Castro Reyes.
Two animal control officers, with the assistance of a Riverside police helicopter, went into the center to find the horse, Welsh said.
They found the animal and turned it over to Animal Services veterinarians, he said. The horse was malnourished and blind in one eye. It appears to be about 20 years old.
"Animal Services officers are finding at least one abandoned horse every week," Welsh said in the news release. Already, 42 horses — 28 of them strays — have been impounded by Animal Services.
The Police Department will forward the case to the Riverside County district attorney's office for review. The department is recommending the men be charged with felony animal cruelty and with conspiracy in the abandonment of the horse, Welsh said.