Town of Bradford man charged in horse's death

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staff, Gazette
Thursday, May 30, 2013

— Mirjam Melin went to talk with her neighbor in the town of Bradford on April 16, the day after her husband, Mark, found a starving horse on the floor of the neighbor's barn, according to court documents.

The horse was fine, 70-year-old Jack Tuls told Mirjam, according to a criminal complaint filed this week in Rock County Court.

It just needed to get up, Tuls said—he kicked the horse in the head to show it was OK, authorities said.

The 12-year-old Frisian stallion named Davy was euthanized a day later after a veterinarian said there was nothing else he could do to ease its suffering, according to the complaint.

Tuls, meanwhile, has been charged with felony mistreatment of animals and three felony bail-jumping offenses stemming from the investigation into Davy's death.

Tuls requested a preliminary hearing when he made his initial appearance in Rock County court Wednesday. The hearing was set for 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 22.

Tuls remains free on a signature bond. Court Commissioner Stephen Meyer ordered him to continue to abide by the conditions of a contract he has with the sheriff's office regarding the treatment of animals on his property.

Tuls' lawyer said there is one horse on the property.

The investigation began when Mark Melin found two of Tuls' dogs on his property April 15, according to a criminal complaint.

When he took the dogs back to Tuls' barn, authorities said, Melin noticed the horse lying on the floor.

Tuls twice denied there was anything wrong when Mirjam and Mark Melin talked with him about the horse, authorities said.

Two veterinarians from the Janesville Animal Medical Center later examined the horse, rating its body condition the poorest on their scale, according to the complaint.

They concluded the horse was starving because of malnutrition and not any medical reason, according to the complaint.

When one of the veterinarians tried to talk with Tuls about the horse, an intoxicated and confrontational Tuls told the vet she didn't know anything about horses, authorities said.

That veterinarian euthanized the horse April 17 with Tuls' consent, according to the complaint.

Tuls also is facing three counts of felony bail jumping.

He was charged in March with fifth-offense drunken driving, and a condition of his bond in that case is that he not consume any alcohol or commit any crimes.

Tuls was intoxicated when a deputy spoke with him April 19, according to another criminal complaint. He also had a small amount of alcohol in his system when authorities arrested him on the animal cruelty charge April 30, according to court documents.

The charge is not Tuls' first run-in with law enforcement over animal cruelty allegations.

Idaho court records show Tuls was convicted of cruelty to animals there in 2003.

A cow Tuls owned was taken out of a hospital barn to "an area unprotected from the elements, where the cow was left to die," according to a criminal complaint from Twin Falls County, Idaho.

He received a suspended 30-day jail sentence, two years of probation and a fine of more than $500, Idaho court records show.

Last updated: 10:31 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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