Charges filed over horse fight

PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – Was it abandoned and abused or is it all just a misunderstanding?

There’s a battle brewing between a New Mexico animal rescue worker and the state after the woman posted a video online of her taking a horse she thought was neglected.

The video posted on Ranger’s Legacy Equine Rescue’s Facebook page shows Crystal Denton and other rescue workers taking a 5-year-old horse from its Portales Home.

The group says the animal had been abandoned for months with visible injures and they were just simply rescuing it from its owner. But the New Mexico Livestock Board says otherwise.

Inspectors say the horse’s injuries were caused by a dog attack when it belonged to a different owner.

The board says the horse was never in danger.

“We have statements from the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office that he was caring for the horse and the horse was in fine shape and the horse had feed and water in front of it,” said New Mexico Livestock Board Inspector Shawn Davis.

A vet examined the horse and found her to be underweight, but perfectly healthy considering her previous facial injuries.

The livestock board took the horse from the rescue group and gave it back to its owner.

Despite the vet’s report, Equine Rescue and New Mexico Against Horse Slaughter has started a smear social media campaign against the state, saying they’ve failed taxpayers.

“We’re at the forefront of cruelty issues involving horses and these kind of allegations really hinder the process,” said Davis.

Denton has been charged with illegally transporting an animal and unlawful bill of sale.

The state says all of this could have been avoided if the rescue would have contacted them before taking the horse.

“If an inspector is involved, it’s not going to result in any charges against the person who wants to do good for the horse,” said Davis. “We want the same thing.”

Denton told KRQE News 13 she believes the horse had been abandoned for months and her mission wouldn’t be complete if she didn’t save the animal.

The livestock board says an inspector checks on the animal a few times a week. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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