"You make one bad decision sometimes and it can destroy your life," Amber Saldate said

By Harriet Sokmensuer
November 27, 2019 01:02 PM
Grand County Sheriff's Office

Two people in Colorado have been charged after video footage of a horse being dragged behind a pickup truck went viral over the weekend.

On Tuesday, John Saldate, 59, and Amber Saldate, 33, were each charged with one count of animal cruelty, according to a news release shared by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook.

Authorities launched an investigation into the video after it went viral on social media and sparked public concern.

“Our phone lines and email accounts are getting covered up with inquiries from people interested in the case. Because these events are now the subject of an active prosecution, our ethical obligations prohibit us from discussing it, but interested persons can attend the public court proceedings if they choose,” District Attorney Matt Karzen said in a statement shared on Facebook.

The video was shared “excessively” on social media, the news release states, and showed a horse being dragged by its halter behind a white pickup truck down a snowy road for about 100 yards. While the animal appears in distress, thrashing its head and bracing its legs in an attempt to resist being dragged, a woman — allegedly Amber — can be heard yelling at it out of frame.

The case was investigated by the sheriff’s office with assistance from the Grand County Animal Control, Colorado Human Society and 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

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While authorities were on the Saldates’ property earlier this week, Amber spoke with CBS Denver and apologized for her actions.

“You make one bad decision sometimes and it can destroy your life,” Amber said through tears. “I’ve lost my job over this, I’ve upset a lot of people and I made our horse go through something that he shouldn’t have, you know, I was wrong.”

The horse, named Trigger, was evaluated by veterinarians, who determined he showed no obvious signs of trauma but administered him pain medication.

Trigger was seized and is now safe. Amber and John Saldate are scheduled to appear in court in January. Attorney information was not available Wednesday.