NOTE: Video is from June 10, 2019.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 42-year-old Chatfield man accused of putting horses and a donkey through a winter of “extreme neglect” is expected to be sentenced on animal cruelty charges Monday afternoon.
Jeremiah Smaglik is expected to receive 20 days in jail and a $900 fine after pleading guilty to two gross misdemeanor charges, according to the Animal Humane Society.
According to the criminal complaint, Smaglik told investigators he rescued nine horses and a donkey last October from a “kill pit” after intending to adopt only one.
Five months later, deputies found the animals near starvation. There was evidence of horses chewing on wood fencing and reaching under fencing for food. They were removed from the Fillmore County farm, badly malnourished and suffering from abuse.
Two other horses were found dead on the lawn of the property, covered by a tarp.
Smaglik agreed sign the horses over to the AHS for evaluation, treatment and placement. The Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue, working with the AHS, helped place the recovering horses and donkey with caring owners. Sadly, one of the more badly emaciated horses did not survive.
“Animal cruelty cases rarely receive jail time,” AHS Humane Agent Keith Streff said. “We thank the Fillmore County Sheriff’s office and the Fillmore County Prosecutor’s office for their help and support with this case. AHS is working with our rescue partner to ensure the horses we saved from the property will recover and find new homes.”
In addition to jail time and a fine, the AHS says Smaglik will also be prohibited from owning additional animals in the future.
Anyone who suspects an animal is being abused or neglected can submit a report online or call 612-772-9999.