Police, Animal Humane Society investigate report of horse neglect in North Branch

Updated: November 18, 2019 05:23 PM

The North Branch Police Department and the Animal Humane Society of Minnesota are investigating a report of horse neglect at a residence.

Police say the Animal Humane Society is the lead investigating agency with the case and contacted the police department to assist in drafting a search warrant. On Friday, both agencies seized 11 horses from a residence, located on the 36800th block of Hemingway Avenue in North Branch. The horses were transported to boarding facilities


According to the police, the horses are currently receiving necessary food and veterinary care.

“It’s hard to see the condition these horses came in,” said Dr. Zach Loppnow, a veterinarian at Anoka Equine Veterinary Services. “The horses came to us malnourished, evident that they didn’t receive proper care that would be expected of a normal owner.”

Police tell KSTP a person has been charged in connection with the case.

That person has been identified as 58-year-old Carmen Burth. She is being charged with a misdemeanor violation of mistreatment of animals (undernourishment), Chief of Police Dan Meyer said.

Authorities said the woman had 20 horses total on her farm, so nine are still on the farm. The ones left on the farm are in better condition than the 11 seized, but could still be seized if the owner doesn't correct the issues.

According to officials, on a scale from one to nine (with one signally near death and nine meaning obese), the 11 horses seized were rated at a two.

Burth told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she never mistreated an animal. Burth said some of the horses were skinny and that she was trying to "beef them up" with food and water. 

Burth said the seizure of the horses was "the worst thing that ever happened to me." 

Stay tuned on 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS as reporter Eric Chaloux covers this story in the evening newscasts, starting at 5 p.m.

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Tommy Wiita/Eric Chaloux

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