30 March 2011

Minnesota woman cited for neglect after numerous animals found starved to death

A 45-year-old woman from Tower, MN has been charged with neglect after neighbors reported seeing dead animals on her run down farm.

One of the neighbors, Lisa Anderson, went to the farm earlier this month after reports of loose horses in the area. What she discovered was horrific.

“I didn’t get 10 feet before I saw the first dead horse, a palomino. There was feces everywhere, and dead animals on top of feces. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” said Anderson in an interview with the Duluth News Tribune. “I own my own horses, and I know that to starve a horse to death takes weeks, maybe months. This had been going on for a long, long time.”

In an unlocked trailer at the property she also found a live dog that was caged – its feet were stained red from living in its own feces and urine.

St Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman said his office was informed of the situation on March 4. Two weeks later, his officers along with a veterinarian and investigator for the Humane Society, informed the owner of the farm, Marcia Berg, that she must immediately provide food, water and shelter to the remaining animals. When they returned the next week, they say the conditions had been met.

Supervising Deputy Shannon Schultz said that at least 6 animals were found dead on the farm (four horses, a cow and a goat) but it was not clear how long ago they had died. Berg had just divorced and may not have been able to keep up with feed costs. There was also no electricity or available water.

Anderson says she is upset at the length of time it took for a serious investigation to take place.

“In one case there was a newborn foal in the doorway to the shed, and that was the foal of one of the mares that was still alive,” she said. “So she had to walk over her dead foal to get into the only shelter she had available.”

The charges against Berg could bring up to a $3,000 fine and 90 days jail time. As for the remaining animals, they will continue to live on the farm.

“It was clear that starvation was an issue, and lack of water,” Schultz remarked. “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.”

Source: Duluth News Tribune

Bev Hahler | @redhotvegan
Bev, a vegetarian since she was 14 years old, became more interested in veganism several years ago after studying Agro-business as part of an Ecology degree. She has a gorgeous daughter in second grade who has been a vegetarian her whole life (lucky girl). Follow Bev on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/jason-riedy