The owner of a Los Lunas auction business is facing criminal charges for the treatment of four emaciated horses found struggling for life. KRQE-TV reports Dennis Chavez, owner of Southwest Livestock Auction, was charged Tuesday with 12 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.
The Livestock Board began investigating the auction business in March after a graphic video was posted by a national livestock rights group. The group found sick and starving horses, and four downed animals were euthanized.
District Attorney Lemuel Martinez says even if the horses were in poor health when Chavez received them, he should have seen to their care.
If convicted, Chavez could serve up to 12 years in prison. He was previously charged in a similar animal cruelty case in 1990 but was acquitted.