FAIRPLAY, Colo. - The manager of a ranch near Bailey was found not guilty by a Park County jury Friday afternoon.
Ron Swift, who managed the Echo Valley ranch east of Bailey, was charged last year with four counts of animal cruelty, according to Park County officials.
Six horses on the ranch and one in Routt County were removed by the sheriff’s office.
Swift told 7NEWS last year the horses suffered from botulism, but the Park County Sheriff's office said botulism was never confirmed through testing. In court, Swift's attorney claimed the ill horses ate noxious weeds.
One horse in Swift's care, not seized by the sheriff's office, later died, according to the Park County Sheriff's office. A necropsy of the dead horse determined that the animal died from a bacterial abscess near the horse’s heart.
“So in this case, it was an infection that killed the horse, however, we feel that the owners of the horses should have contacted a qualified veterinarian much earlier than they did,” Undersheriff Monte Gore told CALL7 Investigators last February.
CALL7 spoke with Swift Friday about the not guilty verdicts, but he declined comment.