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Trial to begin for Nebraska rancher accused of cruelty

BRIDGEPORT, Neb. (AP)--The trial of a former western Nebraska ranch owner charged with 149 counts of felony animal cruelty is set to begin.

Jury selection in the case of 42-year-old Jason Meduna is set for Jan. 11.

Authorities say they found many of the 211 horses and 11 burros on Meduna's 3-Strikes Ranch emaciated and suffering from a variety of ailments in April. A total of 74 horses and burros were found dead at the ranch, which is 22 miles south of Alliance.

The surviving horses and burros were given new homes as rescue agencies responded.

Meduna recently sold the ranch to an Oklahoma couple.

If convicted, Meduna faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both for each count.

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