“Posting on behalf of my mum”
The charging document filed by Platte County Deputy Attorney Douglas Weaver includes affidavits filed by the undercover investigator who worked in Wyoming Premium Farms’ pig farrowing unit from March 30 to May 1. The Humane Society last summer released what it said was an undercover video, showing workers abusing pigs at the farm.
The investigator, whose name is blacked out in the documents, details incidents of alleged deliberate abuse and neglect, including lack of treatment for injured pigs and sows.
The defendants named include:
• Kyla Erin Adams (also spelled Kayla in some documents), two counts.
• Patrick D. Rukavina, three counts.
• Jarrod Barney Juarez, two counts.
• Edward Raymond “Jake” Pritekel, three counts.
• Steve Perry, three counts.
• Richard Pritekel, four counts.
• Kali E. Oseland, four counts.
• David Brian Bienz Jr., two counts.
• Former assistant manager Shawn Colson, six counts.
Upon conviction, each misdemeanor count carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both.
Those charged have been summoned for an initial appearance Jan. 18 in Platte County Circuit Court before Magistrate Scott Cole.
The Platte County Sheriff’s Department has been unable to locate some of the defendants in Platte County, according to the documents. Colson, the former assistant manager, now has an address in Rapid City, S.D.
Leana Stormont, investigative counsel for the Humane Society, said Wednesday that the organization is “very grateful to the Wyoming Livestock Board and Law Enforcement Administrator Jimmy Dean Siler for their diligent and thorough response to our cruelty complaint and to the Platte County sheriff and county attorney for ensuring that laws to protect animals are enforced and that defendants who abuse animals are punished.”
The investigation of the Wheatland pig farm disclosed standard abuses in the pork-raising industry in the tight confinement of the animals, Stormont said.
The animals at the Wheatland pig farm were kept in crates so small they were almost immobilized and helpless.
“That creates a culture of cruelty for the workers,” Stormont said.
She noted one particular instance of cruelty when workers cut off the testicles of piglets and fed them to their sow.
In another, a woman worker who weighed more than 200 pounds sat on a sow that couldn’t walk because of a broken leg and was screaming in agony, Stormont said.
An anonymous tip prompted the Humane Society undercover operation, she said.
Wyoming Premium Farms is under new management – AMVC Management Services, a livestock producing company based in Audubon, Iowa.
Jason Hocker, the veterinarian for AMVC, sent an email news release in response to a phone call from the Star-Tribune.
The release says that Wyoming Premium Farms retained AMVC to provide swine health and welfare management and oversight, as well as leadership and training of the employees at each farm.
“AMVC Management Services and WPF are committed to ensuring that swine health and welfare are adequately provided for every day. WPF fully supports accountability for anyone working with animals.
WPF and AMVC Management Services have implemented training programs in swine welfare and handling to ensure that all employees understand appropriate animal husbandry skills. Employee safety and the health and welfare of the pigs at each of WPF’s farms continue to be primary areas of focus and training,” the release stated.
Leanne Correll, director of the Wyoming Livestock Board, said the board receives very few complaints as large as those involved the pig-breeding operation near Wheatland.
The board does receive a lot of complaints against individuals claiming neglect of animals, she added.
Humane Society spokeswoman Anna West said the case was “hideous.”
“They were throwing piglets around as if they were balls,” she said of the workers.
The most egregious incident, she said, was a sow with a prolapsed uterus that was left to die slowly after a worker botched an attempt to pull her piglets from her uterus.
Warning Graphic Video Viewer Discretion Advised
Published on 8 May 2012
Warning: Contains Graphic Footage. Undercover video footage at “Wyoming Premium Farms” revealing egregious cruelty and filthy conditions at a Wyoming pig breeding facility owned by a supplier for Tyson Foods.