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Dozen horses seized, more found dead near Sebeka

SEBEKA, Minn. - About a dozen horses were seized by the Wadena County Sheriff's Office here, and a few more were found dead on the property, apparently from not being fed.

Wadena County Chief Deputy Bill Cross said the sheriff's office acted on a tip that the horses were in need of shelter and food. The owner of the horses said she had been taking in the animals to care for them when other people could no longer afford to keep them.

"But she apparently couldn't take care of them either," Cross said.

The woman told investigators two horses had to be put down by a veterinarian and two others died from poor care. A dog carcass was also apparently found on the property, which the owner said had been hit by a car and then dragged onto the property where it was found.

Cross said the remaining 10-12 horses were seized by the sheriff's office.

"This time of year is when you start seeing it," Cross said. "It's a heart-tugging thing to see this happen."

Cross explained his office can investigate claims of animal neglect, but if they see an available food and water source - as they had the first time they investigated this particular case - options are limited.

Cross said animals which are confined to a small area need care and attention. He said with a group of animals, one can become dominant and control a small area, not allowing the others to eat. It's up to the human owners, Cross said, to rotate the animals around or make sure all animals get enough access to food and water.

Cross said the case has been sent to Wadena County Attorney Kyra Ladd for review. He said possible charges could be animal neglect, and failure to remove an animal carcass within the allotted time.