Reporting Reg Chapman
EAST BETHEL, Minn. (WCCO) — For the second time in two months, horses have been taken away from an Anoka County ranch.
Agents with the Animal Humane Society along with Anoka County Sheriff’s deputies took seven horses from the Arabian Horse Ranch in East Bethel on Friday.
Authorities said they were in such bad shape, veterinarians gave them low scores between one and three. Nine is the best, and four is typically average.
The owner of the Arabian Horse Ranch. Lowell Friday, said his horses are well fed and cared for.
Agents with the Animal Humane Society said that’s not the case. They said the horses were so neglected that almost half of them were taken from the ranch. They appear to be hungry, skinny and lifeless.
Seven horses seized from the Arabian Horse Ranch in East Bethel now call the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center home. Doctors said the animals do not weigh what they should.
“200 to 300 pounds under what they should be,” said Dr. Alex Draper.
Animal Humane Society agents said all it takes is one look at the animals and you can see they’ve been mistreated.
“The animals are ranging from gross emaciation to emaciation in different degrees and we felt it was necessary to remove those animals to preserve their health,” said Keith Streff with the Animal Humane Society.
This is the second time agents have seized horses from Lowell Friday’s ranch. Back in September, agents took 10 horses off the property. Friday said he does not understand why.
Thirty eight days before the first time his horses were taken, he claims the animals had favorable ratings.
“These went from fives down to threes but their weight is 916 pounds, 1,000 pounds, that’s a starving horse. How did it go from a five to a three when all the rest of the fives stayed five,” said Ranch Owner Lowell Friday.
That’s why investigators said they took the animals. To determine if something outside of Friday’s control is causing his horses to waste away.
“Is there some type of pathology outside the control or is there some type of outside contributing factor that continuously and chronically leads to emaciated horses on this property,” said Streff.
Right now there are 37 horses left on Friday’s ranch. Streff said he believes there are too many animals for Friday to maintain.
Once the investigation is complete, the results will be presented to the Anoka County Attorney’s Office for possible charges.