Accused horse ranch owner tangles with deputy
Threatens with sledgehammer, gets pepper sprayed and tazed in skirmish
Greg Marsten | Staff writer
MILLTOWN – The man behind recent allegations of horse and animal abuse had a run-in with police in recent days as authorities were seeking to fulfill a court-ordered welfare check on the horses and other animals at the heart of the recent allegations.
Michael Feist, 58, is the owner of the Otter Creek Ranch, outside Milltown. The ranch has been at the heart of an alleged animal abuse case that led to Polk County District Attorney's Office filing of four felony charges and 30 misdemeanors relating to animal mistreatment. He was set to appear on those charges in late February.
One of the primary bond stipulations of Feist keeping his horses and remaining free was the Nov. 25 order by Judge Molly GaleWyrick that he "... Must maintain proper food and water for all animals at Otter Creek Ranch - All access by law enforcement to make sure those conditions are being met."
According to a probable cause report filed with the Polk County Sheriff's Department, a deputy went to Feist's ranch to check on conditions of the animals the morning of Dec. 27. When the deputy walked up the driveway, he was met by Feist carrying a sledgehammer and shouting profanities toward the officer, claiming it was harassment.
The deputy attempted to calm Feist, who kept shouting demands and profanities, without dropping the hammer. That was when the deputy drew a sidearm, which led Feist to throw the hammer to the side, but he still refused to comply, and continued to yell at the deputy, threatening to assault the officer, and then he began to move toward the hammer. The officer then informed Feist he was under arrest, but he refused to stop threatening to assault the deputy.
That was when the deputy reportedly used pepper spray on Feist, but he again continued to resist, and while the deputy attempted to handcuff the ranch owner, Feist told the officer that he was a karate expert and that he would assault the deputy, who then said he was forcing the deputy to use a Taser if he did not comply, which he did not. The deputy used the Taser on Feist's back and right hip, which allowed him to comply with the handcuff order.
According to the narrative, Feist continued to resist, even when he was handcuffed and being led to the patrol car. He was eventually taken to the Polk County Jail, where he was booked and decontaminated.
See full story in this week's Leader.