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Published February 14, 2013, 09:29 AM

Homes Found in Red River Valley for Neglected Horses

Up to 30 animals rescued from Mandan, N.D., area ranches will get new start under care of horse lovers.

By: Chuck Haga, Grand Forks Herald

Between 20 and 30 of the horses rescued recently from neglect on two North Dakota ranches are set to arrive at a Hawley, Minn., facility on Saturday, where they will be adopted by horse owners, trainers and others outraged by the conditions they were left in.

One area horse owner arranged for a 30-horse trailer from Iowa and donated the $3,000 shipping cost to bring the horses from Mandan, N.D., to Hawley, while others have agreed to adopt and care for the animals.

“We have space on the trailer for 30, but we’re only going to put the number on we have people lined up for, and we have about 20 homes so far,” said Tracy Tschakert, a dressage rider and trainer in Barnesville, Minn.

“These are lifelong horse people with lots of experience who have offered to take on these horses and give them a really good start,” she said.

Late last month, Burleigh and Morton county authorities found 99 dead horses on two ranches operated by a man with homes in New Salem, N.D., and Fargo.

Sheriff’s deputies also found and eventually seized through court action 157 live horses and mules that hadn’t been properly cared for.

Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue south of Mandan took in about 25 of the animals in the worst shape and has been caring for them, aided by donations of feed, blankets, money and veterinary services.

Authorities are considering criminal charges in the case. Under current North Dakota law, abuse or neglect of animals is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and $2,000 in fines. The Legislature is considering adding a felony penalty to the statutes, but even if passed it could not be applied retroactively.

Probable Cause

A district court judge ruled Friday that officials in Morton and Burleigh counties had probable cause to seize the horses and may sell them or give them away.

The Fargo-Moorhead area adoptions have been arranged through Triple H. Adopters need to arrange for health certificates and meet certain other requirements.

Tschakert said she would explain those requirements and help other potential adopters get through the necessary paperwork.

“If there are people in the area who would like to adopt one of these horses, they have to go through either Triple H or us,” she said.

The people who have offered to take on 20 horses so far include operators of boarding and training facilities and members of an area riding club.

“We all just wanted to run out there and help” as soon as the situation was reported, Tschakert said.

“The people adopting will do a wonderful job of rehabilitating these horses and getting them healthy so they have the best option for a good life,” she said. “Most people won’t keep them long, maybe six months, so they get to know the horses and set them up for success” with new owners.

For information on the horse adoption process, contact Tschakert at (218) 234-6150.

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