Western Wis. man charged with abusing horses

7:48 PM, Nov 22, 2013   |    comments
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MILLTOWN TOWNSHIP, Wis. - Thirty-four charges have been filed against a Polk County man accused of mistreating animals on a ranch in Milltown Township.

Authorities were notified in September after several horses were found dead on the property of Otter Creek Ranch, a ranch that offers horseback riding for all abilities.

Authorities told KARE 11 that there were horses in distress and four were found dead on the property during an initial search on Sept. 20.

Over the last year, authorities said that people have complained about the ranch saying they have seen malnourished horses roaming the pasture.

On Friday, ranch owner Michael Feist was charged with multiple counts of intentional or negligent mistreatment of animals and failing to provide proper food and drink to confined animals.

Authorities along with a veterinarian observed conditions of the ranch on Sept. 20, according to the criminal complaint. They found as many as a dozen horses that were malnourished. Officials spoke with Feist about steps that he needed to take to help the animals. He was given 30 days before another inspection.

The veterinarian tried to arrange a meeting the first week of November, but the due to conflict, Feist was not available.

During the failed attempts, the doctor noticed horses eating grass down to the dirt below. A search warrant was executed on Nov. 8. During the search, officials said the conditions had "deteriorated greatly" since the previous visit, which led to Friday's charges.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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