IVANHOE - A pre-trial hearing took place Thursday in Lincoln County in the case of a man charged with one count of overwork/mistreatment of animals-torture and nine counts of animal health-disposal of domestic animal carcasses by burial or burning.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.
Ivanhoe resident Michael Louis Hansen appeared with his attorney, Robert Gjorvad.
The charges stem from an investigation by Lincoln County Sheriff Jack Vizecky, initiated after the sheriff's department received a call on April 28, reporting two to three dead horses and other horses the caller described as "starving" in a pasture outside of Hendricks belonging to Hansen, according to the complaint.
On April 29, the sheriff's department found the carcasses of 10 horses and five living horses on the property. Roxanne Nielsen of the Western Veterinary Clinic in Tyler examined the carcasses and determined they had died of starvation.
The carcasses were disposed of by burning onsite. The five surviving horses were taken to the Pipestone Livestock Auction Barn.
According to court documents, Hansen, owner of Ivanhoe Feed and Seed, denies he starved the horses and claimed he left them hay purchased from Kenneth Rybinski of Ivanhoe as recently as April 22 or April 23.
At Gjorvad's request, Judge Leland Bush set a date of Oct. 10 for a 10 a.m. plea hearing.
- Steve Browne