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Ownership of horses transferred to county

A Hawley, Minn., man accused of mistreating his horses has given the animals to Clay County. Dennis M.

A Hawley, Minn., man accused of mistreating his horses has given the animals to Clay County.

Dennis M. Nickelson, 49, has signed papers in Clay County District Court transferring ownership of "Buck" and "Lady" to the county.

The horses were seized from Nickelson's property in January and kept at a Clay County deputy's residence south of Moorhead.

On Sunday, the horses were transported to the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation in Zimmerman, Minn., a group that cares for injured animals.

The horses will stay there until they are well enough to be adopted, said Pam Harris, an assistant Clay County attorney.


Harris said if homes cannot be found for them, the horses will remain at the farm indefinitely.

The ownership transfer settles a civil action the county brought against Nickelson.

Nickelson still faces criminal charges that accuse him of mistreating his horses, including one that died.

According to a court complaint, a Clay County sheriff's deputy went to Nickelson's home near Hawley Jan. 23 after a neighbor reported seeing a dead horse lying in the doorway of a shed.

The deputy discovered one dead horse as well as Buck and Lady, who were found sharing a single pen.

According to a court complaint, the surviving horses were each more than 200 pounds underweight and suffering from malnutrition.

Readers can reach Moorhead Bureau Chief 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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