Jury convicts woman charged with mistreatment of 11 horses in North Branch

A woman who had 11 horses removed from her property in 2019 due to malnourishment has been convicted on animal cruelty.

A jury found 61-year-old Carmen Burth guilty in the case last week.

Burth was charged in 2019 after a complaint alleged 20 horses were being kept on her property off Hemingway Avenue in North Branch in improper conditions. The tipster said the horses were very thin, and had no shelter, on a pasture that was too small for the number of horses.

When Humane Society investigators inspected the property in early September, they spotted several horses that appeared to be underweight and in poor condition. They issued a warning to Burth to take better care of the horses.

North Branch horse neglect

North Branch Police are assisting the Animal Humane Society in a horse neglect investigation. Charges have been filed. (Photo credit North Branch Police) (North Branch Police)

Investigators made follow-up inspections, and while Burth made improvements, the Animal Humane Society wasn't convinced the horses would be healthy through the approaching winter. North Branch police ultimately filed a search warrant and investigators brought a veterinarian from Sunrise Equine to inspect the horses.

Ultimately, authorities seized 11 horses that were in poor condition. The horses suffered from a number of issues ranging from "overgrown hooves, rain rot, oral ulcers, muscle wasting, knotted manes/tails, bot eggs, lice, dermatitis, possible pneumonia, intestinal parasitism, and many were in need of dental floats."

Hay that Burth brought to feed the horses was found to be "low quality" with some spots of mold.

Burth was convicted of animal cruelty last Wednesday. a sentencing date for Burth has not yet been filed in online records.