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Horse Dealer Pays Penalty for Forging Animal Health Documents
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/08/2010

A Boscobel woman has been fined for selling horses without testing them for disease and forging documents claiming the tests had been done. State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt's office reported that Carol Swenson pleaded no contest to one charge of altering animal health records and another charge of selling an untested equine animal. She was ordered to pay Sauk County Circuit Court $574 by February 15.

"There are a couple of take-home lessons here," Dr. Ehlenfeldt says. "First, livestock buyers really need to know who they're dealing with and make sure all the health papers are in order. Second, private practice veterinarians are one of our main lines of defense in enforcing animal health laws. In this case, we had both an alert buyer and a clinic that brought this forgery to our attention."

Horses that are sold, sent to Wisconsin fairs and shows, or imported into the state must be tested for equine infectious anemia, an incurable and contagious viral infection. The veterinarian who draws the blood sample for the EIA test and the laboratory technician who performs the test sign a report, which accompanies the horse.

According to the case file, Swenson sold three horses at a sale in LaValle in fall 2007. The buyer noticed that the report he received named a veterinary clinic but was not signed by a veterinarian, and contacted the clinic. A staff member from the clinic notified the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture that no one in the practice had tested these horses. Further investigation showed that no official test was on file with the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, either. At that point, the Department asked Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett to file criminal charges.

Ehlenfeldt urged livestock buyers to ask for, and examine, documentation to be sure that animals meet all health requirements before accepting ownership. If there is any question, buyers or their veterinarians can call the State Veterinarian's office at 608-224-4872.

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