North Dakota rancher, Gary Dassinger has been raising American Quarter Horses for over 40 years and his family has been ranching in the area for three generations. Due to an out of state report, the unethical behavior of a veterinarian, and an overzealous Sheriff, Gary Dassinger faced the seizure and sale of his livestock, criminal charges and 20 years in prison for what essentially amounted to false claims.

Click here for a YouTube video overview of the situation.

Here is a high-level overview of the history of Gary’s case:

  • Measure 5, an initiated state statute was pushed by the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund. It was defeated by the people of North Dakota, however, an amended version became law in 2013.
  • Law enforcement in North Dakota was trained by the Humane Society of the United States on how to go about seizing animals and the enforcement of this new law.
  • A disgruntled employee that was not following through with his responsibilities of caring for the livestock was behind the claim of neglect and abuse. Even though his behavior was unethical, he became a witness with immunity.
  • An out of state accuser.
  • A veterinarian with a grudge and a previous defamation judgment against her to the tune of over a quarter of a million dollars. This veterinarian slandered one of her associates over hearsay to the entire veterinary community.
  • A Sheriff’s Department with Deputies that have little to no experience with animals, especially livestock.
  • A State’s Attorney’s office that clearly has no ranching or livestock background.
  • Two independent veterinary assessments proving that the out of state claims and the report by the unethical veterinarian were not based on factual observations or science were disregarded.

For a more in-depth look into Dassigner’s story, click here to read this article.

Gary Dassinger Prevails

With the help of his daughter Missy, a Major in the Airforce stationed in Japan, Protect The Harvest, and many others, Gary successfully fought to keep his livestock and his 40-year breeding program. However, it was not without great personal sacrifice both emotionally and financially.

What happened to Dassinger is almost identical to other cases executed by the HSUS. The result of Gary Dassinger’s legal fight is a strong lesson to farmers, ranchers, and animal owners in North Dakota and around the whole country.

For more information about the Dassinger Ranch and Open Field Doctrine that allowed this injustice to take place, follow these links:

Article reviewing Dassinger Case

Article about how the Open Field Doctrine can be used against animal owners