Chatfield resident pleads guilty to animal cruelty

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He was charged with jail time, a fine, and is prohibited from owning future animals

It’s been almost a year since investigations began into horse cruelty allegations against Jeremiah Smaglik of Chatfield, Minnesota. After reports of possible animal neglect last October and in March, Fillmore County Sheriff Investigators contacted Animal Humane Society’s Humane Investigations team to conduct a more thorough criminal animal cruelty investigation.

Subsequent investigation by AHS Humane Agent Keith Streff found seven horses so thin they could see their ribs. To determine if a horse is a healthy weight, we use the Henneke Body Condition scoring system. The horses on Smaglik’s property had body scores ranging from one to three (an optimal score is five). The horses were subject to deplorable sanitary conditions and there was evidence they were not being adequately or consistently fed or watered. There were also two dead horses found on the property.

Mr. Smaglik agreed to sign the horses over to AHS for evaluation, treatment, and placement. AHS worked with a rescue partner to remove the horses from the farm. A medical examination of the two dead horses showed severe malnutrition as the cause of death. Of the remaining horses, one was in such bad condition that it had to be humanely euthanized.   

Agent Streff submitted the results of the animal cruelty investigation to the Fillmore County Prosecutors’ office for criminal review and charging. Mr. Smaglik was sentenced to 20 days in jail and a $900 fine after pleading guilty to two gross misdemeanor counts. He is also prohibited from owning additional animals in the future.

"Animal cruelty cases rarely receive jail time," says AHS Humane Agent Streff. "We thank the Fillmore County Sheriff’s office and the Fillmore County Prosecutor’s office for their help and support with this case. AHS is working with our rescue partner to ensure the horses we saved from the property will recover and find new homes."

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