Wisconsin Police Probe Horse Deaths

Wisconsin law enforcement authorities are hoping the public can help unravel circumstances that left more than 70 horses either dead or starving on a Pleasant Prairie farm.

Pleasant Prairie Police Department Deputy Chief David Mogensen said that on April 9, acting on an anonymous tip, police personnel discovered the remains of five horses on a 29-acre property belonging to David and Paula White.

“The dead horses were found in the barn in dark stalls,” Mogensen said. “The carcasses were decomposing in two feet of manure, no bedding and no food.”

Another 23 live horses were found on the property, Mogensen said: “Those horses were in desperate need of food and care and grooming."

Law enforcement personnel removed the surviving horses and placed them under rehabilitative care in an undisclosed, safe location.

”Now they're doing just fine, playing and enjoying the light,” Mogensen said.

On April 30 Kenosha County Tactical Response Team personnel executed a second warrant and discovered the carcasses of 55 horses and other animals buried in shallow graves on a 1-acre section of the property, Mogensen said.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) spokeswoman Emily Schneider said that, at the request of Pleasant Prairie Police, the ASPCA arrived on the property April 30 to assist with the investigation.

David and Paula White were arrested and charged with one count of animal mistreatment leading to death and one count of being party to animal mistreatment leading to death, Mogensen said.

Neither David nor Paula White was available for comment.

Mogensen said the charges were based on the results of a necropsy performed on one of the horse's remains.

“The necropsy results listed emaciation and starvation as the primary cause of the horse's death,” Mogensen said.

Additional charges could follow, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation, he said.

Mogensen said law enforcement is seeking information from anyone who might know about the circumstances at the farm.

“The neighbor across the street said that (the property) used to be a nice stable where people could take riding lessons or ride all day,” Mogensen said. “There are people out there who have information and may be afraid to come forward, but we have to find answers for what happened.”

Anyone with information about the case should call the Pleasant Prairie Police Department at 262/694-7353 or Kenosha Area Crime Stoppers at 262/656-7333. Calls to Crime Stoppers are anonymous.

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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