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BREAKING NEWS

Animal abuse charges filed

By Staff | Jun 2, 2008

County officials examine a dead horse found on Lyle Larsen’s farm.

Last year, Lyle Larsen set up surveillance cameras to catch the person who shot at pets on his farm.

Today, the 35-year-old Wells resident faces charges of mistreating animals.

According to a complaint filed in Faribault County District Court on Thursday, Larsen has been charged with:

• neglect of an animal resulting in death;

• neglect of an animal resulting in substantial bodily harm;

• depriving an animal of necessary food, shelter or water;

• and improper enclosure of an animal.

“It ranks right up there with some of the worst cases I’ve seen. It was pretty bad,” says Faribault County animal control officer Todd Heenan.

He adds reports of animal abuse are taken seriously when they are received.

“We will prosecute. It’s something that has to be dealt with. We don’t take it lightly,” says Heenan.

Acting on a tip from a caller around May 14, Heenan and sheriff’s deputy Todd Duit found a dead horse lying in a pasture on Larsen’s farm.

The caller, says the complaint, also stated they heard dogs barking in a silo.

The two law officers discovered three dogs locked up in the silo. The animals were in need of medical attention, very skinny and without food and water, the complaint says. When Larsen was interviewed by authorities he told them he buried the horse on May 15 and found two holes “the size of a dime” in its side.

Larsen says the dogs had been locked up since an April 21 court hearing regarding running at large charges, says the complaint. He says he was told by the court to keep the dogs locked up or he would receive a larger fine if there were anymore violations.

Larsen gave authorities permission to search his property and dig up the horse.

When officials examined the horse, says the complaint, no bullet holes were found.

Heenan says the dogs were taken to the Blue Earth pound.

“Two of them are in bad shape,” adds Heenan.

The neglect of an animal resulting in death charge carries a maximum sentence of two years and a $5,000 fine. The other charges each has a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine.

In March, Richard Niebuhr of Wells was sentenced after video showed a dog on Larsen’s property being shot at and injured. The dog recovered from the injuries.

Niebuhr was sentenced to a year in jail, but only had to serve 30 days. He also was fined $1,000.