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Two horses found starved to death in western Minnesota

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. – Authorities are investigating a gut-wrenching case of animal abuse after finding two horses that starved to death while tied to trees in western Minnesota.

One horse managed to break its tether, but the other simply dropped in place as it was tied. Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes said he was shocked at the cruelty.

The horses were discovered by resident Virgil Johnson last week as he hiked through the woods near his home. The area is near Dorset Corner, about four miles east of Park Rapids on Minnesota Highway 34.

Johnson reported the incident to authorities and the Headwaters Animal Shelter in Park Rapids.

“I just can’t understand cruelty like this,” he said.

There are humane ways to dispose of animals that can’t be taken care of, he added.

Aukes said the investigation, conducted by Deputy Troy Christenson, is progressing, but declined to comment further. He said he couldn’t remember any similar cases of animal cruelty in the area.

He said the landowner probably wasn’t the person responsible for leaving the horses to die.

The horse still tied up simply dropped to the ground, its ribs protruding from the skin.

Johnson said he’d like to see the carcasses removed before it causes predatory problems, such as attracting bears.

The area has several homes with families and young children, he said.

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