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Associated Press , Published February 08 2013

Judge: Seized ND horses can be put up for adoption

BISMARCK — A judge ruled Friday that officials in central North Dakota can sell or give away 157 horses that were seized from a man because of alleged neglect.

The horses were seized after authorities found 99 dead horses on the man's property in Burleigh and Morton counties, which petitioned the court to place the animals permanently in the custody of the local sheriff's departments, the Bismarck Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/WWcIfa).

South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick ruled Friday that the departments had probable cause to seize the horses from the man, who lives part-time in New Salem. The man has not been criminally charged.

The Morton County Sheriff's Department seized 119 horses and donkeys from the man's property northwest of New Salem in late January after finding 96 dead animals there. Three more horses have since died. The Burleigh County Sheriff's Department seized 38 horses and donkeys after finding three dead on property in that county.

Prosecutors presented testimony at a hearing Thursday that the man did not adequately care for the animals, leading to the horses’ deaths and poor health conditions.

Burleigh County Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Ubben said the horses have to be brand inspected before they can be adopted. He anticipates his county's bunch will be available for adoption by Monday.

Morton County Sheriff Dave Shipman said his county is going to work with Alison Smith, founder of Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue, to develop a process for adopting the more than 100 horses in his county.

“We want forever homes for these horses,” Smith said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com


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