19-year-old charged in Minn. dead horses case

Farm Forum

A 19-year-old man was charged in the case of six horses found dead in February near Dent, Minn.

Billy Vance Tompkins, of Owasso, Okla., has been charged with felony overwork/mistreating of animals-torture, gross misdemeanor overwork/mistreating of animals-torture, two misdemeanor counts of overwork/mistreating of animals-deprive of food/shelter, and misdemeanor overwork/mistreating of animals-torture. His first court appearance was Friday, May 31.

According to the criminal complaint, six horses were found dead on the property at 31327 430th St. in rural Vergas, Minn., when authorities executed a search warrant Feb. 26. Eleven live horses were found, ranging in age from less than a year old to 18 years old. They were “dangerously thin” and weak due to malnutrition and dehydration, according to the report. No food source was available and a 100-gallon water tank was frozen next to a non-functional heater.

Tompkins was supposed to care for the horses; his mother was reportedly the owner of the horses. Neighbors told authorities the animals hadn’t been cared for since December 2012, the report says. Tompkins reportedly told authorities he’d fed the animals regularly and there was a water tank with a working heater.