Jail and probation ordered for animal mistreatment and repeat drunken driving

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Friday, December 13, 2013

JANESVILLE--A rural Clinton man charged with starving a horse and repeatedly driving drunk was sentenced Friday to a year in jail and three years probation.

Jack Tuls, 71, of 8816 E. Rye Drive, Clinton, pleaded guilty to fifth-offense drunken driving and felony mistreatment of animals.

Rock County Judge Richard Werner followed a plea agreement calling for Tuls to spend a year in jail with work-release privileges, pay $6,398 in fines and face three years of probation. He also will undergo an alcohol assessment.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed two counts of bail jumping and one count of driving while revoked.

The animal mistreatment charge was filed after Tuls was arrested June 30. Rock County sheriff's deputies were called to his farm after a neighbor  reported seeing a full-grown Friesian stallion laying on its side in a barn, according to report from the sheriff's office.

The horse was fine, Tuls told the neighbor, according to a criminal complaint. It just needed to get up, Tuls said, and kicked the horse in the head to show it was OK, authorities said.

Tuls later had the horse euthanized on a veterinarian's recommendation before the sheriff's office began its investigation. 

The horse was described by law enforcement officials as "too severely malnourished for medical intervention."

Other animals on the farm were not as thin, but there were signs that led officials to believe that the other animals were headed down the road to malnourishment, officials said.

On Friday, Tuls attorney, Larry Steen,  said Tuls has only two dogs and two chickens at his home in the town of Bradford.

Tuls was arrested on the fifth-offense drunken driving charge in March after Rock County deputies were dispatched to Bradford Town Hall Road and Highway 140 for a report of a pickup truck in the ditch and a man passed out behind the wheel.

Tuls told deputies that he had been drinking earlier in the day.

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