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Woman found guilty of mistreating 11 horses

By WCCO Staff

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    NORTH BRANCH, Minnesota (WCCO) — A 61-year-old North Branch woman is now awaiting sentencing later this year after being found guilty of animal cruelty.

According to Chisago County court documents, Carmen Burth was charged in 2020 with depriving animals of necessary food, water and shelter – a misdemeanor.

Last week, Burth was found guilty of the misdemeanor and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 5. She could face up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, according to the charges document.

In November 2019, 11 horses were removed from Burth’s rural property following an investigation by the Animal Humane Society and North Branch police.

The AHS says the horses were suffering from poor dental care, hoof care and sanitation. Their body scores were between 2 and 3.5, which is short of the optimal 5 score. They were treated for health issues and then relocated to the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation.

In a 2019 interview with WCCO, Burth said she’s owned horses for decades and has never neglected or starved her animals.

The owner told WCCO that she was aware a horse appeared to be having health issues and had called into the vet about a feeding program. She said she was determining the next course of action and wasn’t warned that her horses were about to be taken away.

“They were not starving. There was hay all the time in front of them,” she added.

AHS says its humane investigation agents received more than 1,700 reports of neglected or harmed animals in Minnesota last year.

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