Dupree, South Dakota – Approximately 650 horses were seized on order of a judge at the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros. The seizure came after testimony from a former employee, originally reported on October 3rd, that over 30 horses had died from malnutrition and neglect, and that the society’s financials did not allow for adequate feed.
Circuit Court Judge Jerome Eckrich presided over Tuesday’s hearing at the Ziebach County Courthouse, and ordered the seizure by Dewey and Ziebach counties. The society’s facility lies in the two counties, and Eckrich ordered both counties to jointly seize custody of every equine on the property.
The horses will, for now, remain on the ISPMB property, but care and control of the animals has been taken away from the organization and its president, Karen Sussman. The responsibility for feeding and caring for the animals will be taken up by the Sheriff of each county, with the costs born by the county governments. It is estimated the hay alone will cost $1o,000 a week to care for the horses.
A state veterinarian will assess the equines and place them into three groups. Those healthy enough to survive the winter will be kept in their bands and left loose on the range. Those requiring rehabilitation will be rehabbed and then turned loose with their herds. The animals requiring humane euthanasia, the ones considered too sickly or malnourished to survive the coming winter, will be euthanized.
The ISPMB, as part of the agreement, has the opportunity to regain custody of some, or all, of its horses. For the society to regain the horses, they must follow a carefully crafted agreement. The first part of the agreement is to submit a written plan for the next 18 months by November 11 that shows the organization’s plan and financial ability to support the horses. The society would also have to reimburse the counties for the impounding and care costs.
Failure to submit an approved plan will grant the counties permanent custody of the horses. The horses would be offered for adoption from Nov 11 to Dec 1st, at which time the counties would auction the horses. All funds from the auction would reimburse the counties, and any additional funds would be given to the society.
Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773
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