by Argus Leaderas published on
“ISPMB president Karen Sussman denied that the horses were malnourished…”
The International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB) ranch in Lantry is under investigation after a former employee spoke out against the ranch, saying its owner failed to adequately feed and provide veterinary care for the horses living there and that more than 30 had died over the summer.
Earlier this week, a judge ordered ISPMB to turn over care of the horses to Ziebach and Dewey counties. Dewey County State’s Attorney Steven Aberle told the judge at the hearing “that the herd has grown beyond a size that can be adequately cared for.”
On Thursday, the Dewey County Sheriff’s Office posted a statement on Facebook, saying that state vets counted 810 horses on the ranch, a great deal more than the 650 originally estimated. Of those, 25 were marked as needing special care and one elderly horse was marked for euthanization.
“Some of the foal and other horses have been adopted and removed from the ranch since the hearing,” the sheriff’s office said in the post.
It also noted that the vets “commented on the great improvement in condition since their first visit on the 14th of September.”
The two counties will be responsible for feeding the horses until the horses are given new homes, returned to ISPMB’s care or, at last resort, sold at auction. The judge said on Tuesday that if ISPMB shows it can adequately care for the horses, some of the animals could be returned to its custody.
ISPMB president Karen Sussman denied that the horses were malnourished on Tuesday.
“Animal death is a fact every rancher and farmer in South Dakota as well as throughout the world knows is inevitable,” she said. “But the circumstances of the animal deaths at the ISPMB Ranch have been wildly misrepresented.”
The Rapid City Journal reports that Sussman is facing a grand theft charge in Perkins County for allegedly writing a bounced $9,394 check to a hay supplier.
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