Cavour Men Facing Felony Animal Cruelty Charge

States AttorneyTwo Cavour men are the first in Beadle County to be charged under a new felony animal cruelty law.  Beadle County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 67-year-old Dennis Kerney and 35-year-old Justin Murray Wednesday.  Both men are facing a single count of felony animal cruelty under a law approved during last year’s legislative session.  Court documents indicate the men, attempting maintenance on an Appaloosa horse, struck the animal on the head and back with wooden clubs when the animal acted up.  As the horse fell, one man held it and the other continued to strike the animal until it was down.  The horse was shaking from the pain and had cuts on a front leg and an injury on the left cheek bone.  Prosecutors have filed an order requesting the animal be impounded by the county. Under the statue, the costs associated with care of the animal can be ordered as restitution against a defendant, if found guilty. Neither Kerney or Murray have made pleas to the charges. Both posted 500-dollar bonds and are out of jail.  Felony animal cruelty in South Dakota is a Class Six felony punishable with up to two years in prison and a four thousand dollar fine. South Dakota was the last state in the country to pass a law creating a felony level charge of animal cruelty.  The South Dakota Unified Judicial System says animal cruelty as a misdemeanor, has been charged 13 times since automation of the statewide case management system in 1989.  They include two each in Beadle and Charles Mix Counties, one in Brown, three in Turner and five in Minnehaha Counties.


  1. John Doe

    It’s a shame that we now put animals on pedestals like they’re people. From a guy who has horses and other animals, sometimes you must remind the animal who the boss is. Many times when animals get out of line is when people will get hurt working with them.
    I don’t agree with the way this was done in this circumstance. However, I’ve seen horses fight with each other before and I must say, there is now way this guy could have hurt the horse as much as another horse could/may have


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