Lincoln County man pleads guilty in horse neglect case

IVANHOE?-?A Lincoln County man charged with one count of overwork, mistreatment or torture of animals and nine counts of disposal of domestic animal carcasses by burial or burning pleaded guilty to one count of illegal disposal of a carcass on Thursday.

Michael Louis Hansen, owner of Ivanhoe Feed and Seed, appeared in the Lincoln County Courthouse with his attorney Robert Gjorvad to enter a plea of guilty on the second count.

Count one, of overwork, mistreatment or torture of an animal, and counts of disposal of domestic animal carcasses by burial or burning were dismissed under the terms of the agreement.

Each count is a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both.

Under a plea agreement negotiated between Gjorvad and County Attorney Glen Petersen, Judge Leland Bush sentenced Hansen to a $750 fine, one year of supervised probation and 90 days in the Lincoln County jail. The jail sentence was stayed on condition of Hansen following all conditions of his probation.

Hansen must also pay restitution costs for disposal of the 10 horse carcasses found on his property outside of Ivanhoe and costs of boarding and treatment for the five living horses found in a state of neglect on the property. In addition, Hansen agreed not to own or board any horses for the term of his probation.

Restitution stood at $1,100 for disposal of 10 dead horses and about $4,500 for boarding the five living horses, though that could rise. Hansen agreed to cede ownership of the five surviving horses to the county, on condition the proceeds of the sale of the horses be applied to his restitution costs.

At the hearing, Gjorvad said Hansen’s wife of two years owned horses and had since before her marriage to Hansen. Bush stipulated the horses may not be boarded on any property owned by Hansen, nor may he be responsible for them in any way.

The case against Hansen was filed on July 18, after an investigation by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s department received a call on April 28, reporting two to three dead horses and other horses the caller described as “starving” in a pasture outside of Hendricks belonging to Hansen. On April 29, deputies found the carcasses of 10 horses on the property.

An examination by Roxanne Nielsen of the Western Veterinary Clinic in Tyler determined they had died of starvation.

The carcasses were disposed of by burning onsite. The five surviving horses were taken to the Pipestone Livestock Auction Barn.