by Pat Raia
Equine Rescues blew the Whistle and Saved the Mustangs
Jason Meduna, the former Nebraska training ranch operator convicted on multiple felony animal cruelty counts involving the maltreatment of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) mustangs, will appear in Morrill County District Court on Feb. 23 for sentencing.
Meduna was charged with 149 counts of class 4 felony animal abandonment and cruel animal neglect resulting in injury or death last April after Morrill County law enforcement authorities and personnel from equine welfare agencies removed more than 200 allegedly malnourished mustangs from his 3-Strikes Ranch in Alliance.
Shortly after the seizure, the BLM cited Meduna’s wife, Anissa, for treating an adopted wild horse inhumanely. She paid a $325 fine, said BLM spokesperson Cindy Wertz.
Habitat for Horses, a rescue based in Texas, and the Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue in California received custody of seized animals. All the animals received veterinary and other rehabilitative care. They are all currently residing in adoptive homes.
On Jan. 15, a Morrill County jury found Meduna guilty of 145 of the charges. He was acquitted on four counts pertaining to horses discovered dead on his property, said Morrill County Attorney Jean Rhodes.
“Meduna faces up to 5 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines for each guilty count,” Rhodes said. “The judge can also put limitations on his future ownership and contact with animals.”
Meduna’s attorney declined to comment on the verdict.
“People came together and saved the lives of over 200 horses, and thanks to the persistence of the justice system, the person responsible will be punished instead of receiving a slap on the hand,” he said.
“Stay tuned – an Op-ed coming, soon, on who got away and who remains at large – R.T.”