January 12, 2012
East Bethel horse breeder, Lowell Friday, has been charged with 35 counts of gross misdemeanor animal cruelty in connection with horses taken from his NV Arabian Horse Ranch. Each count carries a fine of $3,000 and/or one year in jail.
Animal Humane Society held a news conference along with the Anoka County Sheriff's Department and Drew Fitzpatrick from Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation. Click on the links below to view some of the media reports.
Updated December 1, 2011
Fox 9's report on the case
Animal Humane Society humane agents removed seven additional horses from the NV Arabian Horse Ranch in East Bethel, Minn. on November 16, 2011, after receiving several more complaints regarding the health and well-being of the horses. This past September, the team removed 10 horses after an investigation of the property determined the horses weren’t receiving proper care.
“Unfortunately, I’m certain we’ll continue this process every couple months until all the horses have been brought to safety,” said Animal Humane Society Humane Agent Keith Streff. “We were legally able to take seven horses today, but around 30 horses still remain on the property.”
Animal Humane Society humane agents along with deputies from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department and Veterinarian Dr. Nicole Eller-Medina entered the property with a search and seizure warrant to remove the horses in question. Each had a body condition score between one and three, one being the lowest body condition score that can be given.
Learn more about the horse's conditions
The body condition of each horse was scored in accordance with the Henneke System of Body Condition Scoring, a system used to evaluate a horse's body condition regardless of breed, body type, sex or age. The minimum standard for acceptable body condition is a condition score of three. Horses that score below that standard are subject to seizure.
“One of the horses was in such poor condition that she collapsed as we tried to get her in the transport trailer,” said Agent Streff. “A great deal of effort was put into getting her back on her feet including the use of steroids. But as the euthanasia option was being discussed the horse made a final effort to get back on its feet and was successful. ”
Animal Humane Society transported and funded the boarding and rehabilitative care of each of the seven horses at the University of Minnesota Large Animal Hospital. Five of the horses have since been transferred to Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue where they continue to receive care.
Friday not charged, seeks return of seven horses
Agent Streff presented Animal Humane Society’s case file on Lowell Friday and the NV Arabian Horse Ranch to the Anoka County Sheriff's Department. The sheriff's department included their reports and submitted the case file to the county attorney's office for criminal review. The county denied felony charges after determining the facts and circumstances did not meet the statutory requirement of great bodily harm or death.
The City of East Bethel is now reviewing the case for possible misdemeanor and/or gross misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.
Friday has sinced secured legal counsel and has requested a disposition hearing to contest the removal of the horses from his property. The hearing will take place at the Anoka County Courthouse on Monday, December 5, 2011 at 10 a.m.
For more information
Click here for information on the originating September investigation of AV Arabian Horse Ranch, including a brief history of Animal Humane Society's investigations into the ranch.