Minnesota Authorities Remove More Than 50 Horses

More than 50 horses and other equids are in the care in the care of animal welfare advocates after being removed from a Minnesota farm by law enforcement authorities last week.

In a written statement, Fillmore County Sheriff's Department Capt. John DeGeorge said that on Nov. 29, following an investigation stemming from a complaint, Sheriff's Deputies and Animal Humane Society Agent Keith Streff removed 55 allegedly maltreated horses, ponies, and donkeys from a Fillmore County property. Numerous carcasses in various stages of decomposition were also discovered on the property, DeGeorge said. Jeff Moravec, director of communications for the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., metro area-based Animal Humane Society, said that the animals' owner surrendered them to law enforcement authorities at the time of the removal.

The animals were transported to the Fillmore County Fairgrounds where the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation coordinated their evaluation and placement with equine rescue organizations for rehabilitative care.

At the time of their removal, animals were in various stages of alleged neglect, Moravec said.

"Some were malnourished, some had injuries untreated wounds from halters," Moravec said. "Some of the animals were in worse shape than others."

Four of the horses were euthanized due to the severity their condition, Moravec said. The animals' carcasses were transported to the University of Minnesota Animal Hospital in St. Paul for necropsy. Final necropsy results are pending, he said.

Another three horses, four ponies, and one donkey were transported to the university for treatment. Christie Ward, DVM, MVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, who is supervising the animals' care at the university, said the animals were being treated for a range of conditions including malnutrition, anemia, pneumonia, eye conditions, and significant lameness issues. The majority of the animals in treatment are responding well, she said.

"Seven of the eight are stable and showing an excellent response to medical and nutritional management," Ward said. "The sickest horse remains at risk."

Meanwhile, DeGeorge said the investigation into conditions at the farm continues. No charges have yet been filed in connection to the case, he said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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