Facts on equine welfare issue

To the Editor:

I am finding myself compelled to offer some information here that may help shed some light on what has turned into a hot topic in the Copper Country, whether you’re a “horse person” or not. I commend those of you who have felt a sense of responsibility for the welfare of the 19 horses in Lake Linden. However, it seems that much energy has been misdirected.

My intention is to offer the facts, as I know them, to date. On Tuesday, April 9, I received a call from a concerned citizen requesting I assess a farmstead housing “a lot” of horses that appeared to be in poor condition. I was in touch with the Houghton County Sheriff Dept. and was provided with a Deputy who accompanied me to the location, which we toured with the permission of, and accompanied by the owner. We left no stone unturned.

On returning to the Sheriff’s office we both completed our reports and submitted them to the Prosecuting Attorney, Michael Makinen. Mr. Makinen reviewed the information and issued a warrant the next morning.

On Wed., the 10th of April, the veterinarian accompanied by a vet tech, and the investigating officer from the Sheriffs’ office reported to the location, with the warrant and proceeded to investigate the situation. Every horse, but two that were too evasive, was examined by the veterinarian, was photographed, and was documented by the Sheriff Deputy. Their body condition and health status, as well as their living conditions was documented.

The veterinarian prepared and submitted a report to the Sheriff. The investigating officer completed his report and, understanding the urgency of the situation, promptly submitted all this data to the Houghton County Prosecutor for his review.

On April 16, Prosecutor Makinen submitted a memo to the Sheriff stating that no charges would be issued at this time, as this is a “short term situation”. Based on the recommendations from the investigating veterinarian, he also stated that remediation of the conditions at this location are necessary. But it’s not clear at this time how this can be accomplished.

We do not feel that the welfare of these animals, clearly described in the police report, should be ignored at this time and we are continuing to explore possible options.

I invite those of you interested in the facts of this situation, to examine the police report at the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office in Houghton.


Certified Equine Welfare