A long time Burt county horse breeder faces 17 charges of animal cruelty and neglect .Vic Jensen claims six of the horses died from a medical issue. Authorities allege up to nine horses died from complications related to starvation while others suffered neglect.
After arraignment for the misdemeanors Jensen told Channel Six News. “It’s blown out of proportion. They should have checked with the vet treating them before saying I was starving them.”
Jensen said he unknowingly fed his herd of about 100 horses hay that had been infested with blister beetles. He said the bug creates mouth sores and kidney problems causing the horses to lose weight.
Jensen said of the horses that died. “It wasn’t my fault they died. They were my best horses and I hated to lose them.” Jensen said he was forced to sell off about 50 head at a loss. But claims the remaining 60 horses are gaining weight.
However another horse breeder from Burt County said outside court in Tekamah today that the bug defense doesn’t fly. Mary Pearson monitored the herd from the road for months and said, “Its starvation pure and simple.”
Burt County Attorney Dan Smith told Channel Six News, “Its primarily medical evidence based on inspection by a licensed veterinarian. The horses have been neglected because they were without feed and water and their condition was one of near starvation.”
Jensen faces up to 17 years in prison if convicted on all charges. He’s asked for a jury trial and said he’ll bring in his experts to mount a blistering defense.