PHOENIX (Lawfuel) – Matthew T. Ashby, 44, of Yuma, Ariz., was sentenced in Yuma yesterday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jay R. Irwin to two years federal probation, payment of a $3,000 fine, $365 restitution and is prohibited from adopting any additional animals. Ashby pleaded guilty on April 10, 2008 to two misdemeanor counts of treating a horse inhumanely after animals in his care were found without proper feed, water or medical care.
Four animals, three horses and a burro, had been placed in Ashby’s care under a private maintenance and care agreement he had entered into with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in April 2006. At a hearing in federal court in April 2008, a Yuma veterinarian testified that a privately owned horse also being maintained by Ashby had been euthanized due to its poor condition. Information about that horse, and its dead foal, led officials to the Ashby property on December 5, 2007 where it found the four BLM animals in poor health as well.
The BLM animals were immediately removed from Ashby’s property and placed at RRR Ranch, a rehabilitation and recovery center in Yuma, where they all eventually recovered.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office; the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Animal Services Division; and the Humane Society of Yuma. The prosecution was handled by Bret Alexander, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Yuma.