Iowa horse trainer Logan Allen’s Facebook posts depicting a motionless horse, tied with ropes and soaked in water with the caption “bad boy” have launched a furious backlash on social media over the past few days.

Allen claims his images were misunderstood and he was simply using a training technique called “laying down the horse.” This technique in itself is controversial, with many horse trainers questioning it’s effectiveness.

The disturbing images of Allen’s training methods caught the attention of Richard Couto, founder of the Florida-based Animal Recovery Mission. The agency has since announced an investigation into Logan Allen’s background and training operation.

“ARM usually doesn’t get involved with small cases like this,” says Couto, “But it’s something that I’ve never seen before. For me it’s long-term cruelty. This horse is controlled by this family and has probably been tortured in this manner for some time. Putting myself in that horses position I’d want someone that knows what they are doing to come to my aid.”

The agency is working alongside several others, including the USDA, to dig deeper into Allen’s past as it pertains to animal welfare.

“The USDA is one of the departments that’s helping us out. A lot of people are critical of the USDA since they are the people inspecting the factory farms. But there are many aspects to the USDA – one of which is a special undercover unit they have. It’s a brand new task force set up with the USDA and several prosecutors that I think will help animals in the long run.”

Though ARM, in cooperation with local and federal agencies, is digging deeply into Allen’s past behavior, it’s unlikely he’ll get more than a misdemeanor slap on the wrist for the alleged horse abuse.

“Criminally what they can get off social media posts without Allen himself shown inflicting the torture will be difficult for a criminal case – he’ll likely get a very small fine for a first time offense,” says Couto.

However, Couto plans to hit Allen where it really hurts – the pocket. “We’re contacting all the rodeo and horse association he’s with. Any certifications and credentials he has will be ripped from him – ARM will make sure of it. This guy owns Quarter Horses, which are extremely big in the ranching world. We’ll make damn sure that the Quarter Horse Association bans this guy from their community.”

There is another potential avenue for prosecution thanks to a photo, shown on a change.org petition, of Allen roping a cow immobile, allowing dogs to maim the defenseless animal.

“That could be a stronger case than the horse. No one talks about the cow because when you’re looking at a farm animal for human consumption being tortured compared to a dog, cat, or horse, it is extremely different in the minds of the general public. It’s unfortunate, but the way it is,” Couto says, adding, “What’s in that image is a felony anywhere in the United States. It’s called baiting and falls under the same umbrella as animal fighting. That’s actually a greater charge than the misdemeanor for horse training.”

It’s a bit like nailing Al Capone on tax evasion – if you can’t get them on one offense, look for another. “That’s what we do with all of our cases,” says Couto, “We do cartwheels when people sell drugs in front of us because we can bring in the DEA. The Capone theory is exactly what we live by at ARM.”

The Inside Rein will update this story with new developments as they occur.

Article by Ashley Fairfield-Remeza