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Veterinarian details horses concerns

NEW ULM — A New Ulm veterinarian who toured a rural Sleepy Eye horse riding and training facility with a Brown County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy in November 2020 testified in the trial of 44-year-old rural Sleepy Eye woman in Brown County District Court Friday.

Candi J. Lemarr of Sapphire Equestrian Farm, faces 20 misdemeanor counts of animal mistreatment in the trial that began Tuesday, Nov. 16.

After the Brown County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint about her horses being in an emaciated condition from an individual who boarded horses at the farm, Dr. Nancy Peterson and Brown County Chief Deputy Jeremy Reed toured the facility and discussed the matter before seven horses and three donkeys were seized.

The animals were transported to the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation in Zimmerman.

Reed testified Thursday that Lemarr and Iowa horse owner Stacey L. Meyer who boarded several horses at Lemarr’s farm, had a financial disagreement and that Meyer’s horses were in much worse condition after spending time at Lemarr’s farm.

In addition, Reed testified after Peterson’s inspection, it was determined that there were too many animals to feed at Lemarr’s farm and that you could see their hips, ribs, and other bones of the horses.

Peterson testified Thursday Lemarr had 19 horses many of them underweight, 12-14 goats, 20-30 chickens, two dogs, and a number of cats.

On Friday, Peterson testified that after the November 2020 farm inspection, she would expect a farm shed to be full of hay in preparation for the coming winter, but it was not.

“Some stalls had no bedding or hay,” Peterson testified. “There were no manure piles either. Usually when horses see me, they poop because they’re nervous.”

Peterson testified she found a few hay remnants but not the amount she expected coming into winter.

“There were lots of horses to manage and they didn’t have the resources or personnel to do it,” Peterson testified. “I’m glad we went out there and took the action we did. I was concerned about horses not having enough food, water and shelter.”

Peterson testified that the horses can’t be sold, only adopted after they go to the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation.

In addition, Peterson testified the cost of the farm visit included a $48 base charge, $180 per hour and that the entire bill for her services was less than $1,000.

Peterson testified that she tried to return to the Lemarr farm after the 10 animals were seized and that she noticed hay and manure piles from a distance, which she photographed.

“I was happy to see that,” Peterson testified. “But Candi Lemarr told me I couldn’t be there and that she would contact her lawyer.”

Under cross examination from defense lawyer James J. Kuettner of Mankato, Peterson testified horses would graze all day if nothing stopped them and that most of her clients have water tank heaters so horses can drink water all winter. Peterson testified she did not see a water tank heater in the big barn at Lemarr’s farm.

“Hay is not always easy to come by. Sometimes it’s quite expensive,” Peterson testified. “I tell people, if it’s not on the farm, I want it close at hand.”

The trial continues at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 22 in Brown County District Court.

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