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Owner Sentenced in Deaths of 19 Horses

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The owner of 19 Belgian draft horses that died when their trailer tipped over in Wadsworth in 2007 has pleaded guilty to reckless conduct.

Keith Tongen, 51, of Brownton, Minn., was sentenced to two years of supervision and fined more than $4,000 following his plea Friday afternoon.

Tongen owned the 59 horses that were in a double-deck cattle trailer that tipped Oct. 29, 2007, on Route 41 at Wadsworth Road. Nineteen horses were killed.

Tongen was charged with several counts of animal cruelty, but those were dropped with this plea deal.

As part of the plea, Tongen is required to pay $1,500 to the Newport Township Fire Protection District and $1,500 to the HARPS equine rescue group in Barrington Hills. He is also required to testify against the driver of the trailer, James Anderson, of McLeod, N.D., who was charged with animal cruelty.

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