Sheriff investigates dispute over land, claims of neglected horses

CRAIG, Neb. (WOWT) - A herd of horses is caught in the middle of a legal tug-of-war, and people are growing concerned about the animals' conditions.

A farmstead bought through delinquent tax foreclosure has 13 horses that were left behind, along with a decaying carcass and the bones of two others.

"We had an agent that went out there and just could not believe the condition those poor animals were in," Deana Walocha, the buyer's attorney said.

The new landowner's attorney brought picture to a court hearing because the foreclosed owners, Cheryl and Nicole Zieman, have ignored deadlines to remove the horses.

"No comment," Nicole Zieman said when approached by 6 News.

The Ziemans took feed to the horses before court, but there are still concerns about neglect up to this point.

"I think somebody needs to examine them, make sure they're not starving, make sure they're not sick and then make sure that they're going to be taken care of," Walocha said.

Zieman told the judge one of the horses died of a uterine infection, and rendering plants don't pick up anymore.

She claims she collected three skulls and took them to the property to paint. Zieman did not explain the bones also found around the property.

The new landowner, Jim Skosvende, confronted Zieman.

"The judge said he couldn't make a decision on it and I'm telling you, you are trespassing and I'm asking you to leave," Zieman said.

"We're not trespassing on our own property," Skosvende said.

"The sheriff is on his way," Zieman responded.

"Good," the new landowner said.

Claiming the judge didn't sign off on the foreclosure, Zieman blocked the new owner ant Six On Your Side from entering the property.

"I saw some pretty disturbing things over there," Skosvende said to Zieman.

"I have nothing to hide. I'm trying to follow procedure as the judge decreed," she responded.

A sheriff's deputy arrived and told all parties to leave.

"Until we figure out where we're at and what's going on," Deputy Eric Nick said.

The sheriff will take a closer look at what the new land owner has already seen.

"Investigating what the judge asked us to do in court today with the horses and that," Nick said.

The Burt County Chief Deputy Sheriff told 6 News the investigation into the condition of the horses is progressing.

He said the foreclosed landowners have been allowed back with supervision to feed the horses.

The land buyers who hold the deed plan to be back in court soon to regain access to the property.