East Bethel Horse Breeder Charged With Animal Cruelty

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.

  • meinmn

    How many times is it going to take before authorities to visit this place before the obvious is taken care of and all horses left standing on the property are loaded up and gotten out of there. Its quite obvious Mr. Friday has some” issues” one including horse hoarding and is not capable of taking proper care of these horses. For once and for all get all the remaining horses out of there and quit giving this individual breaks…people like him need major help!!!

    • GN

      If you want to put the blame on someone. How about the do gooders that completely destroyed the horse industry five years ago. It made horses worthless and cost over 200,000 jobs nationwide. If you jokers are going to comment, you had better do some real research. The Humane Society was a major player iin forcing the abuse of horses that the creature hasn’t experienced in a hundred years. Mr. Friday probably doesn’t have the $700.00 per horse to kill them and have them hauled away. He can’t give them away since no one wants them unless they become malnourished. Then the Humane Society steps in and swears out a formal complaint. If the Human Society is worried and concerned, why didn’t they give Mr. Friday the $700.00 per animal to have them destroyed. Simple, the Humane Society wants the notoriety as the saviors when, in essence, they caused the problem

      • Terry

        Hello Mr Friday’s relative. LOL

      • Bakoff

        GN your coment is just sad. Mr. Friday has been treating his horses poorly for 20+ years and now it has gotten to the point that they are in desperate condition. Nobody except Lowell Friday is responsible for this disaster! Those animals deserved better! Have you ever seen his property? It would certainly make you sick if not make you cry! The before and after photos of the horses removed are only proof they were just not cared for properly! Maybe you should do some research.

        • Jackie Du Charme

          That is true. I have seen his horses, been at his place. I was told about him again and have known about his abuse for a long time. More than 20years. And prices were up on horses then and there was a slaughter house in Mn.
          We were buy there today and I didn’t see one horse outside on his property. Whether they were all removed I don’t know. Or were they hidden from public in barns there, standing in manure again?

          • Bakoff

            I have heard that the horses that he still owns are in the back pasture and a few are not on the property. He also has a few leased out. You have to drive around the east side on the city street to see where they are.

      • rlj13

        Because Friday has been doing this for decades. DECADES. He wasn’t hurting for money when he starved them for the past 30 years. Maybe you should do your research on this case. He’s a habitual, long term abuser (whether he knows it or not). You supporting him makes YOU part of the problem. You don’t have to look on a macro level for this case. He is a repeat, repeat, repeat… offender. Nothing to do with anyone else.

      • Bob

        I can only assume you’re talking about slaughter…feel free to post some facts showing the plants created 200k jobs. Looks like YOU’RE the one that needs to do some real research…and you’ll be surprised at what the facts ACTUALLY are. The problem isn’t slaughter or lack of it, the problem isn’t even any ONE thing, it’s a combination of everything. It’s the economy, and people not being able to afford a ‘luxury’ like horses anymore, it’s everyone that thinks they should breed everything with a uterus or testicles (Hey AQHA, I’m talking about you here, too, with your thousands of ‘cull’ babies every year), it’s many things. Slaughter isn’t going to fix that. And $700 to kill and dispose?? Yeah, maybe if you’re quoting for Congress; in the real world, you’re looking at a quarter of that, IF even that much. Hell, a bullet and a little gas for your tractor would be better than what some of these horses have had to endure, and that’s sure no $700. The fact is, horses are like children in that if you choose to have them, it is your responsibility to see that they are properly cared for; they can’t do those things themselves. Quit trying to push your uninformed pro-slaughter agenda and focus back on the story…that THIS guy did not live up to his responsibility, and the pain and suffering these animals are going through. Instead of venting your hate, put that energy into sharing the story and helping get the rescue donations for these horses’ care; they’ve got a long road ahead.

        • MEINMN

          Koodos Bob-
          Obviously GN’s comment is a bitter fueled one. You worded your reply so accurately! perfect…obviously GN is NOT an educated indivdual on the whole
          picture” here with Mr. Friday.
          Has anyone mentioned here all finger pointing aside that perhaps there are some deep rooted psychological issues here??? This is seems a much more obvious result than placing blame on ‘Do Gooders” GN…

      • meinmn

        Get off your own bitter fueld bitter boat reply and get more educated here on the “whole picture”. No excuses or finger pointing necessary and certainly not towards those intending the best interest of these horses which you so kindly refer to as “Do Gooders”. Do some good yourself and reflect a little further. Your $700 destroy fee comment is a reflection of your “ignorancy” here as any educated person in the horse industry knows there are other free “avenues and options” that were available here to Mr. Friday which he selfishly refused to exercise.

      • Sam

        GN – Alot of your post is true. The HSUS is notoriously out for themselves. This ‘Friday’ incident happened about two months too early. With the passing of the horse slaughter bill last month, Friday may have made at least 1/2 of his $ back. In the future, because of the re-instated horse slaughter regulations, this sort of inhumanity against horses should never occur again in Minnesota. I do agree tho, as a Vet Tech in MN, the HSUS is a non-complying agency with folks here and all over the world, who really care about animal welfare.

        • Bakoff

          Really? Sam. I live within 2 miles of Friday’s place and own 2 horses from there. Maybe you don’t know what you are talking about?

        • Bakoff

          It’s sad to hear a Vet tech from our area talking about how horse slaughter would have helped this situation, Poorly informed. I would also like to add that the reason horses are slaughtered is to eat them, I would assume they would need to have meat on their bones for a slaughter house to be interested in them! Cows, pigs, and sheep are raised to be a food source, there are “rules” to what can be givin to an animal meant for food, medications and feed ect. to make sure they are safe to eat. Horses that end up at the feed lots are not always in the best of condition, sick, diseased and full of parisites. No records of what they have been through in their lives. Mares that were used as test subjects for quarentined stallions coming into the country to see if they carry any contagious diseases, or just plain neglected animals. It’s like russian rulette. Just as many horses from the US were slaughtered in Canada and Mexico last year as would have been killed at US slaughter houses so the fact we don’t slaughter here isn’t the problem. The biggest problem is with the people breeding way to many horses looking for that one special horse, same as the dog and cat people, slow the breeders down and the problem of unwanted animals will be a MUCH smaller problem.

  • Rusty Shackelford

    About time!

  • jld

    Convicted but still able to breed horses??? Really?

  • Miek

    It’s Obama’s fault!

    • not quite

      No this one is def Bush’s fault.

      • meinmn

        No, quit blaming government …. individuals need to take responsibility for their own actions and lack of. Mr Friday should have dealt with this situation long before it got to the “hoarding”/out of caring control level it did and be a responsible horse owner/breeder and boarder.

    • rlj13

      Actually he started his neglect/abuse during the Reagan era. But I’m sure Ronnie knew nothing about it. Again like mentioned above. No one but Friday and the lack of accountability from the authorities can be blamed. Thank goodness the authorities have finally opened their eyes, listened (great job all of the groups involved for your commitment and pressure!), and FINALLY did something.

  • Elle

    Mr Friday should be barred from owning any horses for the rest of his life. He has a habitual problem when it comes to horses, this is not the first time he has had issues and it won’t be the last time if he is allowed to again have horses on his property. Along with being barred from owning horses, mules or donkeys Mr Friday should have to pay the veterinarian bills for treatment his horses received from the U of M Equine Hospital. There is no reason he should be exempt from paying vet bills for medical conditions that he caused.

    • meinmn

      Koodos Elle-

      Exactly…. very well worded!! Get these horses away from this man … there are absolutely no excuses here whatsoever for his behavior. They need to really come down hard on Mr. Friday this time around with a no tolerance penalty/jail time and mandatory psychological evaluation on him.

    • Jackie Du Charme

      Where are all the horses now? They all can’t be at the U of Mn. Does Drew have them up in Zimmerman?

    • Jackie Du Charme

      Where are all the horses now? They all can’t be at the U of Mn. Does Drew have them up in Zimmerman?

    • Jackie Du Charme

      Yes, he should be. No animals what so ever except crows.

  • Mary

    I went to this property, and looked at his horses, every time I showed any interest in any of his horses, the price went way up> He DID NOT try to sell any. I hope he can NEVER own horses again. Also, he has alot of hay, he is just selfish!!!!!!!!!

  • Robin

    I know of the anger- but this is not going to help the horses. Find a way to channel that feeling-to aid these poor creatures. Do they need people to come out and show these horses kindness, do they need donations for care/feed/housing? What can we do—-I don’t know yet–but when the sun comes up, I for one am gonna find out and get it done! Will you join me, and make a real difference?

    • Sam

      atta girl! I got your back!

  • jt

    “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.”

    WHY WASNT SOMETHING DONE YEARS AGO THEN? why did it take another group coming in to bring attention to the horses and thereby forcing the authorities to do something.

    • Bakoff

      JT People have been trying for years to get this situation corrected. Unfortunatly the MN laws are so wishy washy that if he had even 1 bale of hay and 1 scoop of grain they couldn’t do anything to him! The laws to protect these animals need to be changed! The horses are now in such bad condition that they had no choice but to sieze the ones in dire need of medical attention. The only reason anything was done was because they were at risk of dying from starvation! All of the sanitary issues and safety issues would not have been grounds enough to get them out, thats why everyone needs to keep pushing for CHANGES in the law.

      • Sam

        Bakoff: BACKOFF you don’t know what you’re talking about!~

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