RENO — Two Nevada men called “boneheads” by a U.S. judge when he sentenced them to six months in prison for shooting federally protected wild horses might be headed back behind bars for illegal trapping.
Joshua Keathley and Todd Davis are scheduled to appear in a Washoe County Justice Court on Wednesday on a misdemeanor citation for failure to visit steel leg-hold traps within 96 hours, a state law intended to help minimize the suffering of animals whose feet are snared in the spring-loaded, metal jaws.
If they plead guilty, the two Lovelock men face a penalty of up to $192 each in fines and court costs, state wildlife officials said. More serious is the possibility they could be found to have violated the terms of their parole.
“We have notified the feds and have been cooperating with them,” said Chris Healy, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas, confirmed federal parole violation charges are pending against the men but said she could not comment further because the charges were sealed.
The men are scheduled to appear on “revocation proceedings” in federal court in Reno on April 18 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert McQuaid Jr., court records show.
McQuaid is the same judge who berated them when he sentenced them for the November 2009 killing of five wild horses after they admitted they had been drinking and used the animals for target practice.
“I keep thinking about it, and I keep coming back to the senselessness of it,” McQuaid said at the sentencing Nov. 3, 2010. “Drunken and boneheaded is not an excuse.”
Daniel Bogden, U.S. attorney for Nevada, said at the time his office was swamped with as many as 8,000 emails from “all over the world” urging maximum prosecution of the two men.
The chief prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sue Fahami, said one of the most “disturbing and “cold-hearted” parts of the crime was the shooters’ total disregard for the animals after they were shot and left to die.