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October 23, 2014

Western Wisconsin ranch owner faces animal abuse charges

A western Wisconsin man was charged Friday with 34 counts of mistreating horses, according to KARE 11.

Michael Feist owns Otter Creek Ranch in Milltown Township. The Travel Wisconsin website says the ranch offers 100 “gorgeous Appaloosas” for trail rides and riding lessons, as well as a petting zoo. But neighbors have long complained about the condition of the horses there.

Authorities found four dead horses and more than a dozen malnourished when the inspected the ranch late September. They gave Feist 30 days and suggestions to improve conditions.

Polk County authorities said Feist was not cooperative, and so they executed a search warrant Nov. 8. According to the criminal complaint filed Friday, they found conditions had worsened, with feed buckets empty, sheep standing in feces and horses eating their stalls.