Fifty-five horses, ponies and donkeys have been seized from a property in southeastern Minnesota this week.
The Animal Humane Society found the animals suffering from untreated wounds, emaciation and other health issues. Carcasses in various states of decomposition were also found on the property, in Fillmore County.
The seizure involved multiple agencies from the area, the society’s senior humane agent, Keith Streff, said.
“In addition to the severity of the case, this was one of the largest and more complex operations involving horses I’ve seen, requiring a major effort to remove and relocate the animals,” Streff said.
A dozen horses considered to be in the most serious condition were transported from the property to the University of Minnesota Large Animal Hospital in St Paul for examination.
The examination reports will be reviewed by the county prosecutor to determine what, if any, criminal charges will be laid.
As of Friday morning, four of the animals had been euthanized due to severe health complications. The condition of the remaining horses is still being determined.
The horses not taken to the animal hospital were transported to the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Preston.
The society has recruited the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation to co-ordinate efforts with additional horse rescue organizations to treat, care for and place the animals.
The objective was to stabilize and improve the health of the animals so they can be safely transported to new owners, Streff said.