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Man who neglected horses violates terms of probation

BISMARCK — The Fargo man whose responsibility for the deaths of more than 100 horses helped inspire North Dakota legislators to strengthen state animal cruelty laws was back in court on Monday for violating his probation conditions by allegedly purchasing a horse.

William Kiefer, 64, appeared Monday at Morton County Court on a bench warrant, after Assistant State’s Attorney Gabrielle Goter successfully submitted a petition to revoke Kiefer’s probation on Aug. 6.

According to the petition, on July 29, Kiefer purchased a horse from a Wyoming woman for $2,000. He also failed to follow through with obtaining court-ordered mental health services, the petition read.

Kiefer previously had pleaded guilty to five counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and four counts of overworking, mistreating or abandoning animals charges, after Morton and Burleigh county officials found 99 dead horses and mules and seized 150 more from Kiefer’s properties in New Salem and east of Bismarck. Several of the seized animals later died.

Kiefer’s two-year probation, which began in January, included a restriction against buying livestock.