MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – Deputy constables said early Friday a Splendora, Texas man was under arrest after he dragged his donkey behind his SUV and then left it injured on the roadside.
Pct. 4 Livestock Deputy Constable Dwayne Morrow said Marc Richard Saunders, 30, faces a felony charge of animal cruelty.
Investigators said Saunders’ donkey, named Susie Q, wandered onto a neighboring property Thursday afternoon and Saunders went with a friend to retrieve her.
Instead of walking the donkey back, Saunders allegedly tied Susie Q to his trailer hitch and started driving. A friend rode in the back of the SUV and said at first the donkey could keep up, but Saunders started to speed up until the donkey refused to walk any further.
The friend said the donkey locked its legs as it was dragged for about a quarter-mile on Acorn Hill toward Pickering Road, exposing raw flesh and bone on its hooves. The entire time the suspect’s friend said he pleaded for him to stop the vehicle.
Saunders eventually stopped and untied the donkey and sped away, Pct. 4 said.
A passerby spotted the animal and called for help, thinking it had been hit by a car, but deputy constables said they were later pointed to Saunders.
The suspect told investigators he never drove at a high rate of speed and only left because he had to meet his daughter’s school bus.
A veterinarian treated the injured donkey at the scene before it was transported home, unable to walk. The vet said it wasn’t clear if Susie Q would be able to recover from her injuries.
Chief Deputy Barry Welch said livestock deputies play an important role in the county.
“Constable Hayden and I are thankful to have experienced livestock deputies,” Welch said. “Most people would probably be surprised at how many livestock calls we receive.”
“Fortunately, this extreme abuse was an unusual case,” he said. “But we do respond to abuse calls and neglect calls regularly, as well as the frequent traffic hazard calls when large animals get out on the road and are a danger to themselves and drivers.”