PRESTON, Minn. – A Chatfield man is pleading guilty to mistreating horses.
Jeremiah George Smaglik, 42, was charged in May with eight counts of overworking/mistreating animals. Two of the charges were felonies and the rest were misdemeanors.
The Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office says it was first notified in October 2018 of horses in distress on Smaglik’s property on Highway 30 near Bucksnort Dam. A deputy says four horses appeared thin and one was limping. The deputy says Smaglik claimed he rescued the horses from a “kill pen” and was doing the best he could for them.
There were two more complaints in March 2019 about the horses on Smaglik’s property, which led to a visit from the Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Humane Society. Court documents state the horses were thin to the point where their spines and rib bones were showing. There were also two dead horses on the property and the outside paddocks were full of manure, dirt, and mud with no clear ground.
Court documents state Smaglik eventually agreed to surrender seven horses to the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office, one of which was in such bad condition it had to be euthanized. An examination of the two dead horses on Smaglik’s property found nothing but malnutrition or starvation as a possible cause of death.
Smaglik pleaded guilty Monday to two gross misdemeanor counts of mistreating animals. His sentencing is set for October 21.