Keith Tongen Horse Collecting Facility, Brownton, MN 8/9/12

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 13:45
Investigation Category: 

(Horses held to be transported and slaughtered)

Outside Temperature 81º

Keith Tongen is a large-scale kill buyer and owner/shipper papers confirm that he ships approximately 3,600 horses per year to the Viande Richelieu slaughter plant in Quebec. Tongen has been in the slaughter business for a very long time and has violated the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Regulation several times. (Case#: IA06040; IL08010; MN03021; MN05041). A search of Keith Tongen’s DOT records revealed multiple violations, with a fatigued driving rating of 95.8%. (Threshold 65% - at which point, a carrier is prioritized for intervention.)

On 10/27/07 a double deck horse trailer delivering 59 Belgian draft horses that Tongen purchased from “Amish community in northern Indiana”, tipped over, and 18 horses died as a result of the crash. Tongen was charged with four counts of cruelty to animals and one count of animal owner duty.

9:00 a.m. Investigators arrived at the premises. finding Keith Tongen’s blue semi with single deck-trailer parked in the driveway. The premises consist of a single family home, several barns and an extensive pen area. A large amount of straw and hay was stored next to one of the barns.

Inside the pens, approximately 60 horses were gathered around hay feeders. Most of them had auction tags still attached. Quarter horses, draft horses with four-digit numbers on their shoulders, ponies, and thoroughbreds were visible. The majority of the horses were in good condition. A chestnut mare was observed with an open wound on her right shoulder. Investigators monitored the premises for several hours, but there was no activity.