I want to offer correct information on several issues that should immediately clear up many unfortunate and mistaken assumptions that were thoughtlessly printed in the May 12 Park Rapids Enterprise.
Ms. Lizakowski was charged a year ago with a violation of Minnesota Statute 343.21. The complaint contains a narrative in the statement of probable cause issues that have never been put to a jury or a judge to determine the validity of the facts.
I will point out a few of the "facts" that Ms. Lizakowski takes issue with:
• The allegation is that a citizen reported that the horses have eaten the bark off the trees because they are apparently not getting enough to eat. Some horses are known as "cribbers." There are horses, that for some reason, eat wood and bark. No one knows why some horses do this. There are quite a few theories, but no one knows for sure. If you go online, you can put "horses that crib" in the search bar and you will see a number of articles on the subject with a number of different theories of why horses do this, but it is not linked to lack of nutrition.
• Animal Humane Society Investigator Wade Hanson believed that there is not enough shelter for the horses. There is no state standard for how much or what kind of shelter is required. There is no requirement. Many horses owners have no shelter at all, just as cattlemen have no shelter for cattle.
• Ms. Lizakowski used to take in "rescue horses." That is no longer true. The horses that were undernourished were rescue horses that had not yet been with her long enough to be restored. If Ms. Lizakowski was mistreating the horses by not feeding them, then all the horses would have been underfed, not just the few rescue horses.
• The allegation that there was hay and water present, but not enough for all the horses is rather nonsensical. If there was hay and water present that is not eaten, then the horses must have eaten and drank their fill.
• The allegation that there was no grass in the pasture to browse is another statement that is nonsensical. The inspection occurred on May 2, 2017. There is little grass on May 2. The presence or lack of grass depends upon what the weather is like in the spring.
We resolved this case with a dismissal for the charges and a plea to the public nuisance for allowing a small amount of animal waste to enter the ditch. Had it been necessary to go to trial, we would have presented expert witness testimony from a veterinarian that has been to the property numerous times and has seen the horses to refute the state's allegations.
A complaint is just that; a complaint. It is not a listing of "facts" ready to be copied and printed in a newsworthy publication.