Man to serve 6 months in horse starvation deaths

Farm Forum

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A district judge on Dec. 31 sentenced a North Dakota man to six months in jail in the starvation deaths of more than 100 horses in Burleigh and Morton counties.

William Kiefer pleaded guilty Aug. 2 to nine counts of Class A misdemeanor overworking, mistreating or abandoning animals.

Judge Tom Schneider on Dec. 31 sentenced Kiefer to one year in jail with six months suspended. The sentence can be served in jail or through electronic monitoring, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Schneider told Kiefer that he cannot own livestock during his two years on probation.

In late January 2013, officials in Morton and Burleigh counties seized more than 150 horses and mules from properties owned by Kiefer after finding 96 dead animals on property northwest of New Salem and three dead on pasture east of Bismarck. Several other animals later died.

Kiefer is accused in both the Burleigh County and Morton County cases of failing to provide necessary food, water and shelter to his animals.

According to a complaint in the Morton County case, one count of overworking, mistreating or abandoning animals relates to a group of horses and mules found dead on a hilltop in the pasture northwest of New Salem.

Another count is for animals found dead in a barn, and a third count is for dead animals in a Quonset and nearby trailer. A fourth count is for animals found dead in a hay yard, and the fifth count is for all the surviving animals.

Three of the charges in Burleigh County are for animals found dead on Kiefer’s property, and the fourth charge is for the surviving animals.