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Published February 04, 2013, 11:21 AM

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Horses seized at ND ranch after others found dead; Dickinson, ND, police investigate apparent sexual assault of horse; 16 sick in 5 states; linked to ground beef recall

By: Agweek Wire Reports, Agweek

Horses seized at ND ranch after others found dead

NEW SALEM, N.D. — Officials in North Dakota’s Morton and Burleigh counties have seized nearly 160 horses after finding almost 100 more dead at a ranch north of New Salem. Morton County Sheriff Dave Shipman, whose department removed 119 live horses, says there’s adequate feed and water for some of the horses and they will be cared for on scene, but those in bad condition will be removed from the ranch and cared for at a rescue organization. The state’s attorney’s office will be considering whether to file charges in the case. Authorities in neighboring Burleigh County seized another 38 horses from the ranch on the same day. Ninety-six dead horses were discovered on the Morton County property and three dead horses were found on the Burleigh County land. The owner of the horses has not been identified because he has not been arrested. Shipman says the man is retired and “just got in way, way over his head.” He says the man is cooperating. North Dakota state veterinarian Susan Keller says recent cold weather likely played a big role in the high death toll, along with a lack of adequate food and water.

Dickinson police investigate apparent sexual assault of horse

DICKINSON, N.D. — A horse on a farm east of Dickinson, N.D., was recovering Jan. 25 from an apparent sexual assault, an illegal act ranchers suggest happens all too often in the area, but rarely gets reported. When Rex Cook saw his son-in-law’s horse Jan. 17, he knew something was wrong with her. The 7-year-old mare was taken to a veterinarian in Glendive, Mont. Jerry Reichert, the horse’s owner, says the injuries were nothing like the vet had encountered before. “This is, as you can imagine, not something you think about,” he says. The vet was unsure whether an instrument was used to cause the horse’s internal injuries, however the wounds were consistent with sexual assault, Reichert says. A toxicology screen was completed, but drugs that might have been used in the attack could have filtered out of the horse’s system as she wasn’t seen by the vet until nearly 24 hours after the attack, he says. After another examination Jan. 25, the vet thought the mare was going to recover well, Reichert says. Time will tell if there will be lasting damage, but she should make a full recovery. Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning says this is the second incident of bestiality he has heard of in his 30 years at the office, the first being about 10 years ago. Cook is offering a $500 reward for anyone with information that leads to the arrest of the horse’s attacker.

Drought cited in ethanol production suspension

ST. LOUIS — A central Missouri ethanol plant suspended production Feb. 1, saying the extended drought has made it virtually impossible to get enough corn to make the fuel. POET Biorefining says its plant in Macon, Mo., will remain open and all 44 employees will keep working, spending their time doing maintenance-related work. Spokesman Matt Merritt says there is simply not enough local corn to keep making ethanol at the plant, and shipping in corn from elsewhere is too expensive. Missouri has been hit hard by the drought that has dragged on for months.

Owners of neglected horses turn themselves in

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Two animal owners accused of neglecting nearly 70 horses in South Dakota’s Pennington County have voluntarily turned themselves in to authorities. The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says the couple turned themselves in Jan. 25. The couple had been wanted on 10 counts of inhumane treatment of an animal. Warrants for their arrest had been issued. The man and woman are currently out on bond. The Sheriff’s Office impounded 69 horses the couple owned for neglect earlier in January. Officials were able to find homes for the last 10 Spanish Mustang horses.

16 sick in 5 states; linked to ground beef recall

NEW YORK — Federal health officials say at least 16 people in five states have been sickened by salmonella food poisoning linked to ground beef. No one has died, but half were hospitalized. Most of the illnesses have been in Michigan, but a few cases were scattered in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Seven people ate a raw ground beef dish called kibbeh at a suburban Detroit restaurant that wasn’t identified. Health officials say consumers should not eat uncooked meat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the cases have been linked to the recent recall of more than 1,000 pounds of ground beef from two Michigan businesses, Troy-based Gab Halal Foods and Sterling Heights-based Jouni Meats.

Ex-BPI worker lawsuit moved to federal court

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A lawsuit filed by a former Beef Products Inc. worker against ABC News and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver over the use of the term “pink slime” has been moved to federal district court. Bruce Smith was one of about 750 people who lost their jobs at BPI when the company took a financial hit after news reports about lean, finely textured beef. Smith sued ABC, ABC News, Oliver and food blogger Bettina Siegel in December for $70,000 in damages. Smith filed the suit in Dakota County District Court in Nebraska, saying he wanted the case tried in the location where the damage was done. But the defendants filed a notice recently that it was moving the case to federal court in Omaha. A lawsuit filed by BPI against ABC is pending.

Briefly…

Milk production: Milk production in North Dakota during October, November and December totaled 86 million pounds, up 4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011. The Agriculture Department says the average number of milk cows during the three months was 18,000. That was unchanged from both the third quarter of this year and from the fourth quarter of 2011.

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