Multiple cows, pigs, horses found in critical condition at New England residence
By BRYCE MARTIN
Pioneer Editor | email@example.com
AMIDON — Multiple animals were found in severely poor condition this month at a rural New England residence after a concerned neighbor contacted law enforcement.
Edward and Dallas Reisenauer, both residents of Dickinson, owned the property on 126th Avenue Southwest in New England where law enforcement earlier in January found multiple cases of animals being severely malnourished and some deceased.
The father and son were arrested and charged with a Class C felony count of animal cruelty; two Class A misdemeanors of animal neglect and maintaining a public nuisance; and a Class B misdemeanor of stock running at large.
Slope County State’s Attorney Erin Melling stated that from Jan. 1 to Jan. 12 the defendants intentionally engaged in animal cruelty by causing prolonged impairment of the animals’ health and physically tortured the animals ultimately leading to death, according to a criminal complaint filed in Southwest Judicial District Court in Amidon.
The defendants caused conditions that have and will continue to affect the long-term health of the livestock, according to the complaint.
The Reisenauers were said to have intentionally failed to provide food and water sufficient to sustain the animals’ health, to provide minimal protection from adverse weather conditions, and failed to provide medical attention.
The maximum penalty for a Class C felony is five year’s imprisonment, a $10,000 fine or both.
Slope County Sheriff Deputy Shawn Brien offered a detailed account of the property’s conditions in an affidavit filed with the court.
In the multiple-page affidavit, Brien stated that a concerned neighbor had noticed horses running at large around the Reisenauer property and indicated, “it has been going on for too long.” That led the officer to check out the situation.
Brien first encountered Edward Reisenauer when approaching the residence. The man, 77, was stuck in a snow bank and claimed he was going to feed the livestock. A couple bags of feed were discovered in his truck, but not enough to feed the large amount of animals at the scene, as Brien noted.
When Brien questioned the man about food for the animals he said it was at the back of the farmstead. The deputies however told Reisenauer that they could not see any hay from the road. Reisenauer also indicated there was a water spring for the livestock, which Brien would later discover to be frozen.
No hay was present and several head of cattle were found digging in the ground looking for food to eat, according to the affidavit. It appeared there had not been any hay in the hay yard for several days if not longer, Brien noted.
Edward Reisenauer stated he owned four of the cattle and six of the horses; his son, Dallas Reisenauer, owned the remaining livestock.
The Slope County Sheriff’s Office provided feed for the livestock while the investigation was being completed.
Dr. Erika Schumacher, a veterinarian with the West Dakota Veterinary Clinic in Dickinson, accompanied Brien on a tour of the property Jan. 12.
Schumacher made a report of her findings that was submitted as evidence to the state.
She reported that five horses were out at the edge of the road trying to eat out of an empty feed sack. The horses were not inside a fence and ran out onto the gravel road as they were approached. The horses ranged in age from weanling to mature.
One of the horses had a deformed hoof. Their average body conditions were poor.
There were seven cattle in a pen on the eastern side of the property. A mature cow had an overgrown hoof and a severely poor body condition, according to Schumacher.
One calf in that group was found dead under a collapsed building and another calf was lying alongside it frozen and barely alive.
Brien, who obtained permission via telephone from Melling, humanely euthanized the dying calf via gunshot to the head.
In the same area of the property as the dead calves were two donkeys that had poor body conditions, along with two weanling foals and a bay mare, according to the veterinarian. The mare appeared to be fairly weak when walking. The weanling horses were in fair condition.
In the middle of the compound was a small building that had another group of cattle, approximately 10 head. Several were weanling sized calves that were very thin and were cramped into a small building with five large pigs and multiple young pigs.
Brien and Schumacher were unable to fully view all the pigs as several were approaching with aggressive stances.
There were also two dogs on the property, one of which appeared to be nursing or had recently nursed puppies, according to Schumacher. The dogs were in a trailer house that was half buried by a snowdrift.
The fencing was down on much of the property and debris and falling buildings were present.
No food or water source was discovered on the property; the animals were unable to dig beneath the snow for grass due to its depth.
It was Schumacher’s opinion that all animals on the property had not been provided water or food by the owner in at least a week and were in extreme danger of dying from malnutrition and exposure.
Melling asked the court for the animals be removed from the residence.
The defendants were released on personal recognizance with a $5,000 unsecured appearance bond.
Judge Rhonda Ehlis made the stipulation that the two men could not return to the residence until Slope County officials had removed the animals.
Melling told The Pioneer on Tuesday that the animals had been seized and were currently under the care of Slope County.
A preliminary hearing for the two has been set for March 9 before Judge William Herauf.