Rancher Convicted on Mustang Cruelty Charges Paroled

Jason Meduna, the former Nebraska training ranch operator convicted on multiple felony animal cruelty counts involving the maltreatment of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) mustangs, has been granted parole pending an investigation of his proposed residence after release.

In April 2009, Morrill County law enforcement authorities and personnel from equine welfare agencies removed 209 malnourished mustangs from Meduna's 3-Strikes Ranch in Alliance. Another 74 mustangs and burros were discovered dead on the property. The surviving animals were placed with Habitat for Horses, a Texas-based rescue and the Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue in California for veterinary and rehabilitative care. All were later place in new adoptive homes.

Meduna was subsequently charged with 149 counts of class 4 felony animal abandonment and cruel animal neglect resulting in injury or death. In January 2010, a jury found Meduna guilty of 145 of the charges. He was later sentenced to not less than 40 months and not more than 120 months in prison. Meduna was also prohibited from owning or working with livestock for 30 years.

According to Nebraska Department of Corrections records, Meduna began serving his sentence in February 2010 and became eligible for parole on Oct. 20, 2011. A spokesperson for the Nebraska Parole Board said that during an Oct. 26 hearing, the Board granted Meduna parole pending Wyoming authorities' inspection of the residence he would occupy after his release.

"He applied for a Wyoming compact, and the State of Wyoming will inspect the property," the spokesperson said. "He will be subject to Nebraska terms of parole and Wyoming authorities will determine their own parole conditions."

Meduna will be required to report to a parole officer in Wyoming, she said.

Meduna was unavailable for comment and BLM spokesman Tom Gorey declined comment on the parole board's decision.

Habitat for Horses President Jerry Finch disagrees with the parole decision.

"Literally hundreds of people spent part of their lives cleaning up what Meduna tried to destroy," he said. "While he might walk free and never look back, many of us will never forget--nor can we ever forgive--the death and destruction he caused."

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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