A McMinn County man has been taken into custody accused in connection to the death of two mules that were found shot on a farm on County Road 700 in May 2018, according to the McMinn County Sheriff's Office.

Colby J. Eaton, 21, was located and arrested at a home a few houses down from the farm around 11:20 a.m. Thursday, McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said. He faces two counts of cruelty to livestock.

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On May 24, Sheriff Guy said deputies responded to a report of two mules being found shot to death at the Decker farm. A neighbor had noticed the two mules lying near a fence and notified James Decker, who found his mules had been shot.

“It is always shocking and troubling when domestic animals are harmed,” said Sheriff Guy. “These are not wild animals. They are domesticated farm animals, cared for and used by Mr. Decker on his farm for numerous purposes. They were very important to him personally and financially.”

After several months were spent collecting evidence and evaluating suspects, Sheriff Guy said the case was presented to the McMinn County Grand Jury and the indictment was issued in November. 

Guy said several attempts were made to allow Eaton to turn himself in, but went unheeded and so deputies had to assist in getting him to jail.

Eaton was booked in on the charges and faces a $5,000 bond. The case will be set on the docket for McMinn County Criminal Court.