MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An East Bethel, Minn. horse breeder has been charged with 35 counts of animal cruelty after an investigation showed several horses weren’t receiving proper care.
Animal Humane Society humane agents have removed several horses from Lowell Friday’s NV Arabian Horse ranch, 18215 Greenbrook Drive NE in East Bethel. Friday faces a fine of $3,000 and/or one year in jail for each of the 35 counts of animal cruelty.
Authorities say seven horses were removed on Nov. 16, 2011 from Friday’s East Bethel ranch, after officials had already removed horses on Sept. 10. Investigators received several complaints about the health and well-being of the horses.
“There’s been quite a bit of neglect on this farm for some years,” said Keith Streff, Animal Humane Senior Humane Agent. “And it feels good to see him take responsibility for these actions.”
In August of 2011, Friday reported he had approximately 60 horses on the ranch and was responsible for their care and shelter.
During an investigation of the ranch conditions, authorities observed excessive accumulation of feces and manure, pens without adequate fencing, sharp objects and other health hazards to the horses. Water in the pens appeared to be full of algae or contaminated.
Animal Humane Society humane agents along with deputies from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department and Veterinarian Dr. Nicole Eller-Medina removed the horses in question, stating each had a body condition between one and three — with a score of one being the lowest score given. Veterinarians say they were 200 to 300 pounds underweight, and some had parasites.
One of the horses given a score of one was said to have a severe infestation of lice, chipped and cracked front hooves and was highly malnourished.
The horses were transported and rehabilitated at the University of Minnesota Large Animal Hospital, before being transferred to the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation.
“Some of them, mostly the severely starved, are still psychologically damaged. They’re afraid of other horses,” said Drew Fitzpatrick, Director of Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation. “They are improving. All of them. They’re much more friendly. They’re much more aimeable to handling.”
Friday previously pleaded guilty to one count of overworking or mistreating animals in 2009.
Friday still has 26 horses on his farm. Veterinarians say they are healthy and can’t be seized.
“There’s a lot of eyes on this farm right now, and I would suspect if there are horses with poor body conditions, scars or other issues going on, we’ll hear about it,” said Streff.