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Dave Olson, Published March 14 2009

Edgeley man pleads not guilty in horse mistreatment case

A rural Edgeley, N.D., man pleaded not guilty to charges of mistreating horses.

Richard Musland entered the pleas in LaMoure County (N.D.) District Court via his attorney, said LaMoure County State’s Attorney Kim Radermacher.

Musland faces 21 counts of mistreating horses.

Court papers accuse him of depriving the animals of proper food, water, shelter and care.

Authorities confiscated about 35 horses and two donkeys from Musland’s farm in late January after several horses on his property died. A number of the confiscated animals later died. Radermacher said 31 horses and two donkeys survive.

She added that a hearing is set for Wednesday to discuss what should happen to the seized horses.

She will recommend the animals be sold and that proceeds be put toward the county’s costs.

County commissioners recently approved bills totaling about $6,000 to cover the first month of expenses and transportation costs associated with the seizure.

A number of individuals have claimed some of the seized horses belong to them.

If the court rules that horses be handed over to anyone, Radermacher said she will recommend that owners first reimburse the county for its expenses.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555