UPDATE DECEMBER 9, 2016: BRAWLEY â€” The Imperial County District Attorneyâ€™s Office filed one felony count of alleged cruelty to an animal against Jason Jackson Thursday, December 8, in the Superior Court of California, County of Imperial, with Judge Poli Flores presiding at the courthouse in Brawley.
A horse was found with no food or water on February 28, 2016. The horse was eating the fence, a palm tree, and its own feces to survive, according to witnesses. Jackson was identified as the owner.
After investigating the alleged incident, the Imperial County Sheriffâ€™s Office (ICSO) filed a criminal charge with the DAâ€™s office on June 24, 2016 against Jackson.
After months of investigation, the DAâ€™s office decided to charge Jackson.
Jackson pled not guilty and paid a $5,000 bail on Thursday, December 8.
On Friday, December 9, trial dates were set. The preliminary trial will be December 16 and the preliminary hearing will be January 9, 2017.
Judge Poli Flores recused himself from the case, although he said it was appropriate for him to set dates.
With assistance from Imperial County Animal Control, the horseâ€™s health and condition have improved.
Update June 24:Â EL CENTRO – The Imperial County Sheriffâ€™s Office (ICSO) has filed a criminal charge with the Imperial County District Attorney concerning El Centro Mayor Jason Jackson.
A single charge of cruelty to an animal has been filed against Jackson in the case of an emaciated horse that was found at Jacksonâ€™s property. Jackson was identified as the owner.
According to the ICSO, the paper work was filed with the DAâ€™s officeÂ June 24.
The horse was found with no food or water. The horse had been eating the trunk of a palm tree, the fence, and its own feces.
Since the emaciated horse was reported to the sheriffâ€™s office on February 28, 2016, the ICSO has conducted a criminal investigation.
After reviewing the information, the DA will decide what course of action they will take in the matter.
With the assistance of Imperial County Animal Control, the horseâ€™s health and condition has improved significantly.
Jackson denies the claims of neglect.
UPDATE March 6: Jason Jackson, Mayor of the City of El Centro, has come forward as the owner of the emaciated Â horse via social media. Jackson denies the claims of neglect. He claims the story below was a ‘political hit piece.’ When interviewed, he claimed the reporting of his horse to authorities as politically motivated. Jackson’s name was left out of the article since no charges have been filed.
Here is his comment from Tuesday, March 1.
â€œI met with the Sheriffâ€™s office and they said the horse is thin and needs to put some weight on,â€ said Jackson. â€œThe horse has food and water. From what I have heard, this has all been politically motivated by certain people. He has dropped weight. I have a vet coming Wednesday to draw blood and do a feces check. The vet said it is possible that the horse could have worms or a liver issue that would cause him to lose weight. It could also be because of the weather change. We will know after tests have been done. He has had a weight loss in the last three weeks. You can see the horse. Heâ€™s fine. There has always been food and water here. Being an elected official, there is always somebody trying to make things more than they are. Weâ€™ll see what happens after the results are in from the vet.â€
Authorities are checking on the horse twice a day.
The investigation continues by the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office.
EL CENTRO â€“ The Imperial County Sheriffâ€™s Office is investigating a possible animal neglect case that was reported February 27.
The condition of the animal came to light on Monday, February 29, when The Desert Review received a message about a horse without food or water that appeared severely emaciated in El Centro.
According to the source, who wishes to remain anonymous, a neighbor next to the location of the horse was concerned about the neglect of the horse and asked them to come and look at it.
When they saw the horse they were shocked at the condition of the animal, the source said. There was no food on the property and a small amount of stale water. It appeared that the horse was surviving off of the trunk of a palm tree, the fence, and its own feces.
Not knowing how to handle the situation, the party contacted their veterinarian from San Diego who advised them to report the condition of the horse to Imperial County Animal Control and to the Imperial County Sheriffâ€™s Office.
Saying he was required to report cases of animal neglect, the San Diego veterinarian relayed the information to the San Diego Department of Animal Services.
Imperial County Sheriffâ€™s Office Sgt. Emmet Fried gave his account of responding to the call to check on the welfare of the horse.
â€œWhen we responded to the scene, the horse was noticeably emaciated,â€ said Fried. â€œHis ribs and hip bones were visible. We learned that alfalfa hay had been recently placed there. It was evident that the hay had just been placed there and that the water had just been filled up. Because of the condition of the horse, alfalfa is too rich for the horseâ€™s system. Too much alfalfa could have done more harm than good. We had Bermuda hay brought in because it is easier on the horseâ€™s system.â€
â€œIt did not take a horse expert to tell that this horse was not in good shape,â€ continued Fried. â€œOur main concern is to care for the horse and give him what he needs to survive. He is being monitored every day. The reason the horse has not been moved is that in his condition, it may be harmful. There was a question whether he would survive being trailered. Once the horse is stronger, he will be moved. This horse has been completely neglected. Our primary concern is the welfare of this horse. This is being treated as a very serious incident.â€
Sgt. Fried said that the investigation continues and that a report of the investigation would be sent over to the District Attorneyâ€™s office for possible charges.