Family friend defends man blamed in horse raid - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Family friend defends man blamed in horse raid

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WYKOFF, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's been nearly a week since authorities rescued 55 horses, ponies and donkeys from a southern Minnesota farm.  It's one of the largest animal malnourishment cases in the state's history, but as we know, there are always two sides to a story.

Whether the man responsible will be charged with anything is still in question until authorities submit their reports to the Fillmore County Attorney.  In Wykoff on Wednesday, we met with a family friend who explained the man is an animal rescuer himself.

Last Thursday, authorities were tipped off to a case of animal neglect in the Le Roy-Ostrander area. 

"Inconsistent feeding over a long period of time will make a horse deteriorate to a condition such as this," said Keith Streff of the Animal Humane Society.

55 animals needed to be rescued. Four had to be euthanized.

Anna Nelson heads her own herd on a small farm outside of Wykoff.  She claims the man blamed in the incident is a long-time rescuer himself. 

"It's a business. And that's what he does. He buys and sells animals on a regular basis. He's done it his whole life," said Nelson.

So it is possible that animals were neglected at some time, but maybe it was before he owned them. 

"Most of these animals either came to him in very poor condition already," said Nelson. 

Nelson stated health issues in the herd got worse after an apparent accident. 

"He was thrown from the Bobcat and he ended up laying on the ground in the cold overnight because he lives alone," said Nelson.  "So he was hospitalized for ten days with broken ribs and a punctured lung."

Under those circumstances, is a case like this justifiable? That's the question that will be presented to the Fillmore County Attorney. In the meantime, we're told the reports could be finalized by the end of the week.  Until then, Nelson continues to stand behind her long time friend.

"I agree that definitely that those animals were not in good condition," said Nelson. "But this man that owned this herd has been a respected member of the horse community."

The horses were temporarily taken to the Fillmore County Fairgrounds.  Just two days later, all the animals were spoken for.  Many by the Animal Humane Society and the rest to new owners.

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