TOWER, Minn. (AP) — The owner of a dilapidated farm in northeastern Minnesota has been cited for animal neglect after investigators said they found half a dozen animals starved to death.

Marcia Berg, 45, will have to appear in court at a later date to answer the misdemeanor citation that could bring up to 90 days in jail and a $3,000 fine, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Four horses, a cow and a goat were found dead at the farm near Tower, about 90 miles north of Duluth. There was no electricity and no water available, St. Louis County sheriff’s officials said. Several animals were still alive, including six horses, two cats, two ferrets, two goats and a dog, cow and donkey.

“It was clear that starvation was an issue, and lack of water,” said Supervising Deputy Shannon Schultz in Virginia, Minn. “She (Berg) has good hay out there now and ample water … and she wants to keep the animals. If she had not been able to care for them, we would have removed them from her.”

A phone number listed for Berg rang unanswered Tuesday.

Lisa Anderson, who lives about two miles from the farm, told the News Tribune she went to investigate on March 17 after hearing there were dead horses in the area.

“I didn’t get 10 feet before I saw the first dead horse, a palomino. There were feces everywhere, and dead animals on top of feces. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” Anderson said.

Anderson said she also found a live dog in a cage in the unlocked trailer home on the property “with its feet stained red from living in its own feces and urine.”

Officers visited the farm with a veterinarian and Humane Society investigator March 18 and told Berg to provide water, food and shelter for her animals. Investigators returned to the farm about a week later and said they found she was complying.

Sheriff Ron Litman said his office continues to monitor the farm.

Litman said his office was informed of the situation March 4. The sheriff said he believes his officers handled the case as best they could and took proper action.

“We absolutely take these cases seriously. We still get way too many of them,” Litman said. “And there are probably many we don’t hear about.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (57)
  1. LAS says:

    How can a person just sit there and watch a poor defenseless animal starve to death?

  2. Tom says:

    There is no excuse for this to happen! If you can not take care of the animals in a proper way then you should not have them in the first place. If she fights this she will not be thinking of the animals, but only herself . And if she is found guilty she should have in remaining animals taken away and be barred from having any animals around for the rest of her life!

  3. rj says:

    So, comparing the news for today…the Fridley woman that killed her small dog is different from a woman that starves multiple animals to death how????????? Two years compared to 90 days!!!!

    1. JamieinMN says:

      Yes, there shouldn’t be any difference, but there IS considering how the animals were killed. This particular case, they were neglected, the other she killed the dog with her bare hands.

      1. Doh says:

        So if you kill a animal quickly with little to no suffering as a result of a fit of anger you should pay a higher penalty that letting them suffer and starve for weeks in the cold while you and your kids sit in the house and watch them drop then walk around them while they rot in the yard.
        Good Point. now stop helping.

        1. JamieinMN says:

          I’m not saying WHO should get what. I’m saying there should be NO DIFFERENCE and they should both get harsh penalties! But under the court of law, there IS a difference, hence why this woman got less time. Derrrrrrr.

      2. Barbara Murray Lofquist says:

        JamieinMN- If I were a pet such as MS. Berg’s I would prefer to be shot in the head than left to starve and die of dehydration for weeks and/ or months! The crimes should be the same. Sick people need to be off of the street until they are better.

        1. JamieinMN says:

          OMG… are an idiot. Grade A.

  4. LA says:

    rj, i agree, how could there be that much difference in penalties. people are just awful, to just neglect these animals is just awful

  5. JLD says:

    While I can’t say for sure the Chihuahua was intentional (she intentionally threw the pup against the dresser) and the farm animals may not have been intentional; at least not in the regard that someone said “I’m going to starve these animals to death”. I hope that makes sense. Either way, each situation stinks and I pray that none of these ppl are involved with human’s in anyway…I can’t imagine how they treat them.

  6. KMM says:

    The animal neglect and animal cruelty laws in this state are WAY to lenient. Throw her in jail and forget to feed and water her!!

    1. Aquila Rogers says:

      I am with you on that one!!!!

  7. Victim Du Jour says:

    I think we need to lay-off Courtroom people instead.

    1. JamieinMN says:

      Totally off topic…..

      1. Victim Du Jour says:

        No, we can lower taxes by getting rid of some Judges, and tell the Judges who stay working to dismiss stupid crimes and focus on murder, violence, kidnapping, major theft and drug dealing.

        1. Rhodstar says:

          So you think it’s ok to be cruel and abusive to animals and those that commit these acts shouldn’t be held responsible…..I mean it’s just a stupid animal, right? You know they say that most serial killers start with animals. When your neighbors kid murders you after he’s been torturing animals for years, but has only gotten a slap on the hands for it because as you put it, such stupid crimes should be dismissed…I hope the court dismisses your STUPID case because you were a heartless human being and who cares!

  8. Derik says:

    Sorry 90 days in jail, or $3k fine is not enough….they are killing an animal that is a living being. Just pretty sad we don’t have tougher laughs on this so we dont’ have to read stories like this.

  9. Zelda says:

    Our animal welfare laws are pathetically weak. Contact your state rep and senator and demand that they work on and pass bills to better protect these innocent beings! Animal cruelty and neglect should be felonies, not slap-on-the-wrist misdemeanors. It’s shameful that we allow these poor animals to be abused, starved, and left to die.

    1. Victim Du Jour says:

      Animals don’t have civil rights, the government is required by law to worry about people crimes first.

      1. samanthastorm2 says:

        where then do you draw the line? who that think brought about the haulicaust and such other crimes against humanity…..

  10. joe says:

    I bet none of you have a problem with killing a child while in it’s mothers womb! It’s just an animal!

    1. JamieinMN says:

      I DO actually, but it’s not my choice, nor my business what another woman does with her body.

      1. Scott says:

        Then the actions of this person also are of no business of yours as she did as she thought ‘right’ to that which belongs to her.

        Do you not see how illogical your stance has become? Wrong is wrong across the board. Murdering your child is wrong across the board, willingly starving animals to death is also wrong across the board. Not standing up to that which is wrong give silent affirmation to it.

        1. JamieinMN says:

          See there is a fine line, not everyone thinks abortion is murder of a child, because it is not a child, it is a fetus.

          1. lib says:

            Late term abortion…that child is in agony. It never fails to amaze me, the torture and neglect of an animal inspires outrage, as well it should, but because you don’t see or hear the agony of a child, you have no feeling what so ever.

            1. JamieinMN says:

              Why are you telling ME this??? I am completely AGAINST abortion, but I don’t feel that it’s my business. How in the heck did we get on this topic anyways??!?!! Just shush.

              1. lib says:

                By the way fetus is Latin for “little one”. Now I will shush.

      2. hard rock miner says:

        Yes JamieinMN it is. Some people are having children that are being neglected before they take a breath. Then, after they are born we have to support them through welfare, food stamps, medicaid, and subsidized housing. Then the little kids grow up and go to jail. Everything people do has a consequence.

    2. DedeSandstorm says:

      Joe you are so off subject go to an anti abortion web chat please spew your rhetoric there!

    3. MercuryGlass says:

      I do Joe. And by the way, compassion is not a zero sum game. Why is it that some fellow Christians get so upset when people are compassionate about God’s creations that don’t happen to be human? And yes, I am against abortion. It’s not mutually exclusive.

  11. red says:

    This is disgusting, Her punishment should be the same as the stupid chick who threw the innocent dog. These animals suffered.

  12. Pam says:

    Jail is too good. She should have to serve a year in the humane society building. During the day – feed , water, walk, and clean up after the animals. During the night – make her sleep in a cage at the humane society.
    A sleeping bag and pillow are sure better than she gave her animals. That would sure help remind people to feed , water and clean up after their animals even if the weather gets cold and snowy.

    1. Peta says:

      Yep, just like they do with child abusers as punishment, make them do volunteer work caring for kids.
      Pam, think about how dumb that sounds.

    2. pat says:

      Pam, I have a farm and no one needs to remind me to feed and water my animals.

  13. Joyce says:

    What does this picture have to do with this story? It’s misleading to the content… We’re talking about starving animals on a poverty stricken farm. This picture is a field of plenty.

  14. Bruce says:

    I think it is time that Sheriff’s departments in rural areas made surprise visits to farms occasionally just to be sure everyone and everything on the farm was doing well and in compliance, especially if the person has become a hermit and is rarely, if ever seen anywhere. This not only would catch animal abusers, but Meth Labs, child abusers, and other things that people do whent hey think nobody is watching could be caught before they go on for decades and create horiible scenes like this one.

    1. Ed says:

      Hey Bruce,
      Why stop there, how about random searches for the suburbs too?
      Maybe make your house the first stop on the “strip America of freedom” tour since your so willing to give up every freedom so many Americans fought to protect.
      I may not be willing to pay to keep someone locked up for something as stupid as this crime but I will give till it hurt to deport people like you out out of America.
      Do you talk this stupid in public too or just online?

  15. Carol says:

    If the Sheriff’s department knew about it on March 4th why did they wait unitl March 18th to check on those animals. They would have had to suffer 2 more weeks than the did and some of them may have survived. How sad it this story, she should not be able to keep any of them.

  16. Gloria says:

    I’m enraged and confused as well. If the Sheriff’s Dept. was notified on March 4th, why did it take a neighbor (that’s how I interpret the story from what is reported here) going to investigate herself on March 17th to bring this tragedy to light? I’m sure she must have made another report, since officials visited the farm the next day-March 18th.

    Minnesota must be lacking in punishing offenders in these situations; Animal Precinct, etc., programs show officials doing everything in their power to take all the animals in these situations from their neglectful abusers! Child and animal abusers are abhorrent to me. I guess we all need to loudly protest to our lawmakers to increase the efforts of officials and hand out more strict sanctions against the offenders. I pray the rest of the animals in her care will be removed and given the love and care they deserve.

  17. Pennie says:

    Why are the remaining animals allowed to stay in the custody of this woman? The remaining animals should have been taken to the human society or put in foster care. Who provided the hay for the horses, cows, goats etc? I think that is the only reason she wants to keep them, someone else provided the hay. She probably believes that she won’t have to worry about suppling the animals with feed/hay, just having to lay the feed/hay out for those animals. This woman should be ashamed of herself and should never be able to ever own any sort of animal ever again.

    1. Debra Lundstrom says:

      Pennie you are totally correct on your comment….”someone else provided hay” she is too busy going out to the local taverns, telling people that she is innocent of these citations, showing people pictures of her “healthy horses” and crying foul that any one could hold her accountable for her crimes. I am so entirely sick of our justice system and how they handled this case. I am at a total loss for what to do. So I believe that I will just sit back and watch Karma do its magic.

  18. ohoh says:

    Aren’t people who do things like this mentally ill? All the animals and probably any children should be removed from that property.

  19. Kim says:

    I agree with Tom and RJ and Pam, First of all take those animals that servived away from her she does not deserve to keep any of them and make sure she can not own any other animals every again. Then Make her starve with no water for weeks and see how it feels. Also that lady in Fridley that killed that small dog should get more then 2 years in jail and same with this women. Cuz if these people would hurt and kill an animal more likely they would do it again or end up hurting a kid or someone.

  20. Kim says:

    The bottom line we in the US need more tougher laws for animal neg and abuse.

  21. sad says:

    YOu can make all the laws you want kim, but if they are not enforced, like illegal immigration what is the point of having them?

  22. J. Housman says:

    I read all these comments, and think were is your compassion people, I hear it for the animals rightfully so, but quite often the people involved did not set out to purposefully harm these animals. Large animals like horses can often live 15 to 20 years. a persons health and the economy can change greatly within a year. 5 years ago she may have been enjoying and caring for those animals very well. Many people love there animals and as in humans when you are close to them it difficult to see what is happening, and then the denial time sets in and as you start to lose them the hopelessness. there are not place to call and give animals away to when they are starting to fail. No electricity no water sound like times are tough. Is there money for fines or food maybe in jail she will get the medical help at least. Yes it could be simply neglect, but my sad story is much more the norm for rural Minnesota good people running out of funds to be good people. please be more compassionate, and start helping fund the animal shelters so people don’t have to pay to drop off animals they can no longer support.

    1. Debra Lundstrom says:

      @J. Housman….She in fact, was not living on this property, she was living in a house miles away with her boyfriend. She did not miss a meal. She was however indulging in the tavern life.. She was WALKING over the dead goat. Ok she may have come into hard times (over two years ago) And yes there are places to send your animals when you come across hard times.
      I have had to make these choices! The difference between Berg and I is that I called and moved animals before they became ill and emaciated. I was not in denial as to how much I loved my animals. Because I loved them I did what was right for them! She is need of medical help alright. I believe it is called being a “sociopath”

  23. Zelda says:

    I’d like to point out to some who’ve commented here that loving and caring about the welfare of animals does not necessarily preclude loving and caring about the welfare of humans. Why do so many think that love of humans and animals are mutually exclusive?

    1. Ed says:

      A lot of these people feel a human type bond with their pets.
      This lowers the value of human life for them to the level of a animal and the will all most likely end up abusing kids.

      1. MercuryGlass says:

        What you’ve just said
        is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
        At no point in your rambling, incoherent response
        were you even close to anything that could be considered
        a rational thought. Everyone on this post is now dumber for having read it.
        I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  24. Barbara Murray Lofquist says:

    For some reason domestic animals such as cats and dogs don’t suffer as much according to the state of MN! when they are starved and deprived of water. Marcia Berg should go to jail for 10 years. Numerous folks would have taken those animals off of her incompetent hands. Please contact your legislators and get the antiquated laws changed to protect all animals.

  25. Barbara Murray Lofquist says:

    The sheriff’s dept. also dropped the ball. Maybe that is how they are trained, hope not. Their policies also need to be changed. Any living thing that is suffering from humans to road injured deer need to be taken care of or put out of their misery ASAP!

  26. kristen peterson says:

    I am the one that made the initial call to lisa anderson and tawni martin…Bergs boyfriend that she is residing with now and during the time the animals were being starved is going thru a divorce with one of my close friends and I tried to keep my name out of it for that reason..however bergs boyfriend is threatening his soon to be exwife, and all of us that he believes turned him and his girlfriend in…From day one I have been told by the sheriff that we called on the 17th that I would also be recieving a treaspassing ticket…those pictures are pictures that we took…I understand that there were more complaints about this situation then are being disclosed..also there was some talk of 50 goats dying and of a game warden who was feeding the animal up until octorber when he supposedly contacted berg at her boyfriends where she was living and told her that she had to start feedingi the animal…..what about the other animals that were not found, what about the deal she made to have the bodies disposed of , what about the fact that she tried to say that the animals were poisoned, she is a heartless, cruel individual who could have at anytime asked for help in that area and would have recieved it…perhaps she should have asked before they the sheriffs have left her with the rest of the animals what a joke..she should not be able to to own flee….they say she can afford to feed the remaining animals? Well I guess if she cant afford to feed them all she can just starve a couple more to get their food needs in her budget…and who the heck is hauling water out to those animlas every day??? there are 5 horses left there and no water on the property…do officials realize how much water needs to be hauled daily….I just cant believe what i saw….

  27. hard rock miner says:

    She should have been charged with a felony. She should NOT have been allowed to keep any of the animals.

  28. Lisa Anderson says:

    My name is Lisa Anderson the woman in the articil above. I agree we all need to ban together to make sure things like this don’t happen in the future. What I saw at that place was pure evil. For the people who think that tis woman has come up on hard times and “she was living with no power or running water ” no she is living in a home with her boyfriend and believe me she had not missed a meal or been with out. she abandoned those animals there to die. When we arived on the property there was no food or water provided to 15 still living animals. Everythinng from horses to cats to dog toferrits to cow to goats. And will repeat no food or water was provided to any of them. not only were they hungry beyond explanation they thirsty and mentaly I am guessing quite disturbed.
    For those of you who want to see this as a human thing imagine you live in a loft with 10 people and you have no way to get out. for the first few years there is this grate person who brings you food every day. and then as time goes on they stop comming every day now they only come a few times a week. You are hungry but “you cant get out remember” now all of a sudden there are two of you room mates pregnant. Wow more food is needed but less is coming in every week. Now you notice that a few of your roommates are looking to thin and are getting sick. By the way now you have no heat and it is –20 inside. and your to thin sick roomates start droping dead. now even less food is coming in by now there are three adults dead and one of the pregnant ladys goes in to labor the baby is premature and dies. now there are only 6 of you and one is still pregnant. and rember you cant get out so the bodys are stacking up. All of a sudden there are some stranger that show up they call the poliece and the next day all of a sudden you are getting food and water again every day.
    And the person who left you there this whole time with no food and water gets to keep you locked up for the rest of your natural life.
    I hate this system so much it sickens me.

    1. Jeanie says:

      Just one picture is worth a thousand words. I think you should post the pictures you took and put them on the internet for the world to see. Spread the word that they are there. The imagines will spread through Facebook etc like wildfire. No one will be able to say that what this psycho did didn’t happen then. Please post them for the world to see. Marcia shouldn’t be able to hide behind her lies. When people see the photos that were taken…everyone will know the truth!

  29. Jeanie says:

    Just one picture is worth a thousand words. When people see the photos that were taken…everyone will know the truth!

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