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January 19, 2010

The HSUS Applauds Conviction in Neb. Horse Cruelty Case, Urges Maximum Sentence

Jury finds Three Strikes Ranch owner guilty of 145 counts of felony animal cruelty

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the jury in Morrill County, Neb. District Court on Friday for finding Jason Meduna, owner of Three Strikes Ranch, guilty of 145 counts of felony animal cruelty. According to news reports, each count carries a maximum of five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine or both. Meduna is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 23.

"This case involved serious equine neglect that could have so easily been avoided," said Keith Dane, The HSUS’ director of equine protection. "While there is no restitution that can make up for the loss of life and severe suffering at the hands of this animal abuser, we are glad the jury's verdict recognized the cruelty inflicted by Meduna. Hopefully, this case will send a strong message that animal abuse will not go unpunished and that our wild horses should be on the range, not the auction block. Congress should quickly pass H.R. 1018 to prevent the commercial sale of these majestic animals."

In spring 2009, The HSUS assisted law enforcement and other horse welfare organizations with the removal of more than 215 animals from Meduna's ranch in Alliance, Neb. When the ranch was raided, nearly 200 mustangs were found to be living in crowded, filthy pens without access to food or fresh water. The horses were severely emaciated and were suffering from overgrown hooves and other untreated medical conditions.

In addition to the live animals, more than 75 horse carcasses were found strewn about the property.

Meduna had acquired the majority of the animals from the Bureau of Land Management, some for as little as $10. The animals were wild mustangs and burros rounded up through the BLM's controversial wild horse management program.

Following the seizure of the animals, The HSUS provided emergency sheltering, care and logistics support. The horses were placed with qualified individuals and horse welfare organizations across the country.

Many of the rescued horses are being rehabilitated and trained by the Grace Foundation of Northern California. Several are currently available for adoption. Interested parties can visit thegracefoundationofnorcal.org.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org. 

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