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Rocky Acres Horse Rescue owners face dozens of animal cruelty charges

The owners of the rescue face 35 counts of animal cruelty each for neglect and mistreatment of the horses. Only three horses were in good physical health.
Rocky Acres Rescue & Sanctuary website

Warrants for the arrests of Thomas Jessberger and Dalene Rindal, the owners of Rocky Acres Horse Rescue in Townsend, Mont. were issued on Friday, for one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and 34 counts of felony animal cruelty, in the cruel and negligent treatment of horses reported the Helena Independent Record.

On March 11, the Broadwater County Sheriff's Office entered the property on Antelope Road and seized 28 malnourished horses, five goats, and one donkey. The animals are currently being cared for at the Broadwater County Fairgrounds.

A lengthy investigation had been ongoing prior to the raid after authorities had received numerous complaints about skinny horses and poor care at the rescue.

Friday's court papers revealed the hay and food offered the horses were of poor quality; the hay was described as being moldy. The horses had neglected feet and teeth, were infected with lice, and exhibited untreated injuries.

When a deceased horse was unearthed from its grave and sent to authorities for a necropsy, the results revealed the horse's bone marrow fat content measured .2%; a healthy horse carries the marrow fat content at 81%.

Since the raid, the property has been listed for sale. Neither Jessberger or Rindal have been in the area.

If found guilty, the couple face two years in prison for each animal cruelty count and a $2,500 fine for each count.

They are scheduled for their first court appearance on April 18.

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