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Woman, 59, charged for allegedly neglecting horses, pony

Published 6:30pm Saturday, March 2, 2013


A horse eats hay in January after being removed from a rural Oakland property. Brandi Hagen/
A horse eats hay in January after being removed from a rural Oakland property. Brandi Hagen/

OAKLAND — A 59-year-old rural Oakland woman has been charged with neglecting three horses and a pony.

One of the horses, a light brown Appaloosa, died the night after the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the alleged neglect, and the remaining animals have been removed from the property, 23939 885th Ave., which is about six miles northwest of Austin.

Theresa Lynn Halsey faces one felony count of mistreating an animal, involving cruelty, for the horse that died and three misdemeanor counts of mistreating an animal by depriving it of food or shelter, one for each of the two Arabian horses and pony still living.

The charges were filed in January, and Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson said they sent a summons to Halsey to appear in court Thursday, but it was returned undeliverable. It is unclear if Halsey moved, so Nelson said he plans to ask for a warrant.

According to court documents, a deputy went to the property on Jan. 9 after receiving a report of possible neglect. He reportedly found the horses under a lean-to shelter with a sagging roof.

The Appaloosa horse, which appeared emaciated, was reportedly lying on its side, struggling to get up.

The ribs of the horse were showing, the hip bones and shoulders were protruding and there was a large boil on the right rear hip of the horse, court records state.

The Arabian horses also appeared emaciated, though not to the extreme of the Appaloosa. The deputy stated it was difficult to tell the condition of the pony.

On Jan. 10, the deputy got a search warrant and went with the director of the Freeborn County Humane Society to seize the horses, and discovered the Appaloosa died during the night.

Court documents stated Halsey acted shocked authorities were taking the horses, and said the horse that died would get thin every winter and then fatten up in the summer. She admitted to the deputy that the horses’ hay was not good quality.

Though there was water for the horses, the open water tank was covered in algae. There was a small bag of protein mix and a pail of weight gain, but there were no oats, corn, or barley at the property. The ground was covered in feces.

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