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Clay pair plead guilty

A 50-year-old Clay County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to threatening a deputy sheriff during an investigation into animal mistreatment on his farm last year.

A 50-year-old Clay County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to threatening a deputy sheriff during an investigation into animal mistreatment on his farm last year.

David W. Ginger, who lives about five miles northeast of Felton, also pleaded guilty in Clay County District Court to one count of maltreatment of animals, one count of having too many animals for the size of his farm and one count of child neglect.

His wife, Vicki M. Ginger, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of child neglect.

Vicki Ginger said the family's two-story house "was a mess" in the spring of 2003 and she agreed with prosecutor Ken Kohler that a buildup of cat feces on the second floor of the residence made the home unsuitable for children.

Both Gingers are to be sentenced April 15.


Under a plea agreement, they are to serve no jail time but pay fines determined by the court.

They also have to pay restitution.

Ten other charges pending against David Ginger and one pending against Vicki Ginger are to be dismissed.

The case stems from May 2003, when dozens of cows, pigs and horses were taken from the family's farm after deputies found the area littered with animal carcasses in various stages of decomposition.

After a court battle to win ownership of the animals, Clay County sold seven head of cattle, 20 horses and 28 hogs for $4,800.

When authorities entered the couple's home they found it packed with 36 cats and dogs, littered with animal feces and garbage, and lacking running water, court documents state.

The couple's three children were placed in shelter care but later returned to their parents after Clay County Social Services determined their home had been cleaned up.

David Ginger was accused of making threats toward neighbors and law enforcement officers, including a deputy who visited the farm on April 28, 2003.


Ginger said Tuesday he didn't remember threatening the deputy, but under questioning from his attorney, Daniel Westerman, and Kohler, Ginger said he probably did.

"I've been told I said something about roasting someone on a spit," David Ginger said. "I made the statement, I guess."

Ginger said he was angered by a comment the deputy made which he felt was disrespectful to his wife.

Ginger also said animals on his farm in the spring of 2003 did not have enough food or water and there were too many animals for his nine-acre farm site.

"It was a bit too much to keep up with, yes. Some animals were dying," Ginger said.

The Gingers were to stand trial Tuesday, but last-minute negotiations resulted in a plea agreement.

Kohler said at sentencing he plans to show the court pictures of what deputies found at the Ginger home last year.

"Words cannot do justice to the conditions found in that house," he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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