Seized Horses Spared from Slaughter

Dassinger's horses.
Dassinger's horses.

Gladstone, ND – Southwest Judicial District Judge Dan Greenwood ordered the removal of 70 horses and 20 cattle after an investigation found the animals emaciated, dehydrated, full of lice, and two horses so crippled they had to be put down immediately.  The owner,  Gary Dassinger, strongly disagreed with the findings of the investigation.  “I hired the wrong ranch hand,” Dassinger said. “I was paying someone to take care of the animals and he didn’t. Next thing I know, sheriff shows up on my doorstep.”

Dassinger's horse.
Dassinger’s horse.

The animal’s condition had improved dramatically since the Sheriff’s first investigation, thanks to Dassinger hiring a new ranch hand.  Dassinger suffers from a hip and spinal condition that make it impossible for him to personally care for the animals.   Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning told reporters the current condition doesn’t matter, and that seizure is appropriate.  “Based on what I learned from the first recitation to me of the conditions and the photography of the scene and number of animals, I had no hesitation or question about whether or not these animals should be seized,” he said.

The sheriff planned to send the seized horses to a feedlot, where they would be shipped to Canada for slaughter, but after negotiations decided to take them to Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue.

While the sheriff was removing the animals Thursday morning, an order came from a different judge to return the animals.  Southwest District Judge Rhonda Ehlis granted an emergency restraining order filed by Dassinger’s attorney, preventing the Sheriff from removing any more animals, and returning the animals it had already removed.  The restraining order is only temporary, and the seize order is still in effect, so Dassinger’s animals fate is unclear.

Dassinger is facing 4 Class C felony animal cruelty and 6 counts of animal neglect when he enters court June 7.

Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773

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