Family friend defends man blamed in horse raid - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Family friend defends man blamed in horse raid

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 side to a story.

Whether or not the man responsible will be charged with anything is still in question until authorities submit their reports to the Fillmore County Attorney.  On Wednesday in Wykoff, we met with a family friend who explained, that ironically, the man is an animal rescuer himself.

Last Thursday, authorities were tipped off to a case of animal neglect in the Leroy-Ostrander area.  "Inconsistent feeding over a long period of time will make a horse deteriorate to a condition such as this," explained 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," she said.

So it is possible, 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.  She 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. So he was hospitalized for ten days with a broken rubs and a punctured lung."

Under those circumstances, Is a case like this justifiable?

This is 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, Anna continues to stand behind her long time friend.

"I agree that definitely that those animals were not in good condition. 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 humane society and the rest to new owners.

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