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Billings man found guilty of animal cruelty

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- A Justice Court jury has found a Billings livestock
breeder guilty of five misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty in the deaths of five
 horses.
   Yellowstone County prosecutors argued James Leachman was responsible for
placing unbreakable identification leg bands on the horses and failing to remove them
as the animals grew, causing injuries that were never treated. Four of the horses
 either died or were put down because of the injuries. Another had a broken leg.
   Leachman's defense attorney argued the horses were injured in some other way,
 despite prosecution photos showing the leg bands cutting into the animals' flesh.
   Sentencing is set for Dec. 12.
   The case began with reports of starving horses. Leachman's 800 horses were
fed by the county and volunteers last winter before being rounded up and sold at
auction.
   AP-WF-12-05-12 1447GMT

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