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Two horses found dead from starvation near Dorset

Two deceased horses, one still tied to a tree, were found last week near Dorset Corner. They died of starvation. FORUM NEWS SERVICE/Sarah Smith

Hubbard County authorities are investigating a gut-wrenching case of animal abuse after finding two horses that starved to death tied to trees near Dorset Corner.

One managed to break its leash, but the other simply dropped in place as it was shackled. The two had obviously been left there for part or most of the winter.

Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes said he was shocked at the cruelty of what had occurred and vowed to catch the perpetrator.

The horses were discovered by resident Virgil Johnson last Friday as he hiked through the woods. He immediately reported the incident to authorities and the Headwaters Animal Shelter.

Johnson lives in the vicinity of where the horses were tied and abandoned.

“I just can’t understand cruelty like this,” he said.

There are humane ways to dispose of animals that can’t be taken care of, he added. And if the owner had asked, an outpouring of help likely would have been available.

Aukes said the investigation, conducted by Dep. Troy Christenson, was progressing, but that the open case could not be commented on at this time. He said he couldn’t remember any similar cases of animal cruelty in the area, a crime which carries criminal sanctions.

He said the landowner probably wasn’t the person responsible for leaving the horses to die.

The horse still tied up simply dropped to the ground in a grotesque manner, its ribs protruding from the skin.

Both emaciated horses starved to death.

An official at Headwaters Animal Shelter said the department had contacted the shelter’s investigator in the Twin Cities, but she didn’t know if he had been to the region yet.

Johnson said he’d like to see the carcasses removed before it causes predatory problems like attracting bears.

The neighborhood is residential with families and young children, he said. He doesn’t want any issues with large animals coming to the area.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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