A case of cattle poisoning in Miner County has the animals' owner and lawmakers stumped.
44 cattle died after authorities believe some poisoned their water on Halloween night.
The Division of Criminal Investigation has been looking into this felony case of animal abuse.
But that crime is a relatively new one on the books. Here’s a look back at the case that helped spur the law.
It's one of the most infamous cases of animal abuse in South Dakota that garnered national attention.
On July 4, 2009, Dually the barrel racing horse was stolen from the Stanley County Fairgrounds in Fort Pierre.
He was found the next day with severe rope burns around his face and legs that caused lasting injury.
Flint Dahl of Fort Pierre was charged with grand theft and inhumane treatment of animals and his punishment was to spend five days in jail over the 4 of July over a three-year period.
At the time, inhumane treatment of animals was a misdemeanor.
But following Dually's case, in 2014 South Dakota became the last state in the nation to make animal cruelty a felony.
Cruelty is defined as "the intentional, willful and malicious infliction of physical abuse that causes prolonged pain, serious injury, or the death of an animal" and is punishable by up to two years in prison.
In the latest crime numbers available, there were five reported cases of animal cruelty in the state in 2016.
Currently the DCI is investigating a cruelty case out of Miner County were 44 cattle died after being poisoned.
“It's vandalism is what it is. When you go and start killing somebody's cattle-livelihood that's where you step over the line," Bernard Donahue said.
Who's behind the cattle killings is a real mystery in Miner County. We go looking for clues in Sunday’s Eye on KELOAND investigation at 10.
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