Morton County Sheriff’s Department lead the way in animal abuse in Standing Rock

Horses in Standing Rock have been the victim of multiple overaggressive attacks

  • During standoffs with police and water protectors, horses have been tased, maced, and shot with beanbag rounds

  • One horse has been confirmed to have been put down as a result of injuries he obtained from law enforcement

  • Horses are left to run wild after their rider is knocked off

With so much talk of the injustices occurring in Standing Rock, one serious issue that is being overlooked is the animal abuse that Morton County Sheriff’s Department, and other law enforcement agencies, are taking part in.

Hundreds of people have been tear gassed, sprayed with mace, attacked with batons, and shot with beanbag rounds, but  the people are not the only ones being injured in these assaults from a heavily militarized police force.

A large number of horses are also being injured in these aggressive attacks. As of now, one horse is confirmed to have been put down after officers broke the horse’s two front legs with beanbag rounds.

One confirmed horse death

Locals have told TDH that another horse has been put down due to injuries received from law enforcement, but we have not been able to confirm the second death as of yet.

Dozens of horses have suffered non-life-threatening wounds throughout the months of standoffs. The wounds range from broken bones to deep gashes, but the abuse does not stop at physical injuries.


Multiple reports from riders claim that they have been chased on their horses by low flying helicopters, and DAPL security on ATVs. ATVs are commonly used by DAPL security as it is an easy way to quickly get across the land.

Jesse White’s horse was tased by an officer

Perhaps one of the most disturbing examples of animal abuse horse from law enforcement is the story of a young Lakota warrior named Jesse White.

White saw elderly people were being sprayed with mace by law enforcement. It was then White decided to ride his horse between law enforcement and the elderly.

White was then shot with rubber bullets and mace, at which point he did his best to cover his horse’s head. As he tried to protect his horse from the mace, an officer tased his horse, which caused the horse to throw White. Luckily White did not suffer any significant injuries from being thrown from his horse.


Police cannot legally detain horses

Riders have been knocked off their horses so they can be arrested. However, once these riders are knocked off, what happens to the horse?

Legally, law enforcement on the scene is not allowed to detain horses and lack the physical ability to do so. So once these riders are knocked off of their horses, the horses are left to run free.

TDH spoke to a woman last night that had just been released from jail after Thursday’s raid on the Frontline Camp. We were told that her family has six horses that are stuck in the area where the raid occurred, an area that is now under restricted access.

Heavily militarized law enforcement are blocking the highway to the area. Regardless of law enforcement’s blockades on Highway 1806, the woman that was released from jail is not able to go up for her family’s horses.

Since she was arrested on what is now DAPL property, she has a no-contact order against her. Meaning, she legally is not allowed to go on that property to retrieve the horses, even with permission, as long as the no-contact order is active.

An unknown number of missing horses

At this time it is unknown how many horses are lost since Thursday’s raid. It is doubtful that the woman we spoke with was the only one who lost horses when at least 141 arrests were made that day.

Horses play a large role in Native American culture, and those who are deemed riders have a great deal of love and respect for their horses. They are not going to charge a heavily militarized police line with the intention of injuring an officer. They know it will get their horse killed. These horses are being attacked by overaggressive who are looking to make arrests.



About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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