- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

BALSAM LAKE, Wis. (AP) - A western Wisconsin man has been convicted of multiple counts of mistreating animals after authorities found dead and malnourished horses, and unsanitary conditions, at his ranch in Polk County.

A jury convicted 60-year-old Michael Allen Feist on 34 counts, including four felonies, Thursday night. KSTP-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1FlNjm9 ) he faces a maximum of 3 ½ years in prison on each felony and nine months on each of the other counts when he is sentenced on June 2.

Feist’s attorney, Joel Larimore, had no comment when reached Friday by The Associated Press.

The charges stem from a 2013 investigation into Otter Creek Ranch in Milltown Township. According to a criminal complaint, Polk County sheriff’s investigators and veterinarians inspected conditions at the ranch several times in the fall of 2013 and found malnourished horses, unsanitary conditions and other animals in poor health. The complaint says Feist was given a chance to improve conditions.

On one visit, a veterinarian reported he found up to 18 horses that needed attention and were starving. On another visit, investigators reported horses, cattle, guinea pigs, pigs, sheep, alpaca and other animals were wet and dirty. Feeding troughs were empty, and mud and manure was so deep, sheep were walking with their legs buried in excrement, the complaint said.

Investigators also found up to 30 horses in a barn, four were dead and others were malnourished, the complaint said.

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