Vet wants to be paid for long-term care of seized horses

SHERBURN, Minn. (AP) — A rural Minnesota veterinarian who has taken in dozens of miniature horses since they were seized because of maltreatment says she wants to be paid for caring for them for a year and a half.

Shirley Kittleson says the bill for their care has topped $325,000. Kittleson filed a lawsuit last month against the Humane Society and Watonwan County for nonpayment.

Kittleson was asked to care for the herd of 72 after the Animal Humane Society and Watonwan County sheriff seized the horses from a farm in Odin, about 25 miles from Kittleson’s place near Sherburn in June 2018.

The farm’s owner, Michael Johnson, was convicted of two counts of animal neglect.

Watonwan County told Kittleson soon after she sent them a couple of monthly bills that the horses were the responsibility of the Humane Society.

Kittleson said she could find new homes for the horses, but the Humane Society won’t release the herd, according to the Star Tribune.

“I think the Humane Society thinks that if they sign the release, they will admit ownership and have to pay the bill,” she said.

The Humane Society claims the burden of payment lies with Johnson, the pony-farm owner. In a court filing, Johnson responded that the Humane Society should be responsible for the costs.