An East Bethel ranch owner, who had 17 emaciated horses seized from his property last year, was charged Thursday with 35 gross misdemeanor counts alleging animal neglect.
Lowell Friday, 72, who runs a horse-boarding business, has been the subject of several Animal Humane Society investigations over the past 13 years.
In November, seven horses were seized from his farm. One of them was so weak it collapsed before authorities could get it onto a trailer. Ten horses were seized from Friday's farm in August.
During investigations, Humane Society investigator Keith Streff found pens with accumulated manure, sharp edges and algae-coated water, according to an Anoka County criminal complaint.
Earlier this month, a court denied a request by Friday to have one of the seized horses returned to him. Friday testified last month before Judge Jenny Walker Jasper that his mare, Special Effects, was graded a 5 on a scale of 1 to 9 during a summer exam. But later, another veterinarian, called by the Animal Humane Society to Friday's ranch, found a 930-pound animal whose ribs, pelvis, spine and shoulders seemed ready to burst through her skin. Special Effects had a rare heart murmur, cracked hooves, lice and parasites and was graded 1.5 with 1 being severely emaciated -- when officials seized her on Nov. 16.
The Humane Society was given full control and custody of Special Effects and will determine appropriate placement of Special Effects, the judge ruled. After five days of treatment at the University of Minnesota, Special Effects' heart murmur was resolved. The murmur was caused by malnutrition, according to court documents.
Other horses were brought to the University of Minnesota, nursed to health and then sent to rescue ranches for further rehabilitation.
Paul Levy 612-673-4419