Authorities in North Texas are asking the person who took video of a horse trainer with cutting earnings allegedly abusing a mule to come forward and speak with investigators.
The trainer in question, Clinton B. Spence of Mineral Wells, was arrested Sept. 4 in Palo Pinto, Texas, on one felony charge of cruelty to a livestock animal.
Palo Pinto County Sheriff Brett McGuire said officials believe Spence is the man in videos posted to Facebook that show a person whipping a mule while it is laying down in an arena. The man in the video whipped the mule in the back, as well as on the face, McGuire confirmed.
Spence, who bonded out of jail, could not be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone Wednesday afternoon at a number listed for Spence in the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) membership directory referred comment to an attorney in Mineral Wells.
A woman who answered the phone at the law office in Mineral Wells said the organization does not comment to magazines about cases. The Spence Cutting Horses Facebook page was no longer accessible on the social media website Wednesday afternoon.
Officials say the mule, as well as a horse in another video they believe is linked to Spence, are not owned by the trainer. They have tracked down the owners, McGuire said.
“Those animals are no longer on the place, haven’t been on the place for months,” he said.
According to Equi-Stat, Spence’s most recent show earnings came in the Open aboard Smart Barn Cat, a horse he owned, at a PK Cutters weekend event in December 2019.
Spence also pulled paychecks in 2003 at a Chisolm Trail Cutting Horse Association weekend show and in 1998 at two weekend events hosted by cutting horse associations in Tennessee. His first entries on his Equi-Stat record were in 1991 in Youth classes at an American Cutting Horse Association (ACHA) show in Texas.
In all, Spence has an Equi-Stat record of $598. He is currently listed in the member directory on the ACHA’s website and is listed on the NCHA’s website as an active member with Non-Pro status.
Sheriff’s deputies began investigating the allegations last week after learning of the video on Facebook. Though they believe Spence is the man in the video -— and have interviewed him about the allegations — McGuire said they have not spoken with the person who took the video that was posted online.
He said they’ve reached out to the person believed to be the videographer without success.
“We’re trying to corroborate some facts. We’ve reached out several times to try to get the individual that we believe took the original video at the time that it happened,” McGuire said. “We really need to talk to them, because we’ve got to corroborate some stuff on this case and actually nail some stuff down.
“But that individual has not come forward to talk to us.”
Officials will continue the investigation and, once it is complete, forward it to Palo Pinto County prosecutors for review and possible presentation to a grand jury. If presented, it will be up to the grand jury to decide if Spence should be indicted for the charge of cruelty to livestock.
* This story has been updated with information that police are seeking to speak with the person that took the original video that was posted to Facebook. A previous version of this story said they were looking to speak with the person who posted it.