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Viroqua man accused of animal abuse for death of horse, while second horse had to be euthanized



The discovery of a dead horse outside a Vernon County residence has led to animal abuse charges against a 27-year-old man.


Kaden Hartje of Viroqua is charged with seven criminal counts, including failure to provide sufficient food or water for an animal and mistreatment of animals causing death.

Sheriff’s officers investigated the horse’s death at Hartje’s home on Jan. 17. A second horse at the site was euthanized.

Hartje was out-of-town, but cooperated with officers. He was arrested this week, and his next court appearance is on February 28th.

Other animals were taken to new shelter by the time Hartje was arrested. Meth and marijuana were found in searches of two vehicles.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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  1. Amanda everhart Wisconsin horse rescue owner viroqua

    September 17, 2023 at 12:36 pm

    Wow kayden you’ve really outdone yourself you made rumors about Wisconsin horse rescue with Mariah gander and Olivia goddard. Remember when you stood in the road on top of your girlfriend’s car saying that I starve Phoenix my horse she was dropped off to my farm with a twisted stomach and Mariah knew every bit of that because guess what I wouldn’t board Little Miss dander’s horses and then she sold me the saddle that she spray painted because Ron Burroughs told me about it this entire town is so disgusting you ruined my farm with your friends you ruined my life you put my life in danger you put the life of my child in danger a home invasion to my home because your fake rumors might be abusive ex found me that’s right all of you are responsible Miranda Gerlach Chris Burke you Mariah and Olivia all of you are responsible for what happened to me that night I hope they throw the book at you for ruining Wisconsin horse rescue I did nothing wrong to my horses I did nothing wrong at all and this wizm they did a story on me because you and your friends called me a scammer a liar and all this crazy stuff I’ve had to move every year of my life since that rescue until 4 years ago and you people wanted to go on the internet with your little friends and contact my neighbors where I live now and ruin my life so now the whole entire rumors going through another fucking town you people are horrible you are the ones Detective zitzner Joellen I got the report where she says when she came to your guys’s house you and Olivia to tell you to leave me alone but there was trash all over the pasture and there was a dog that didn’t look like it was caged properly with no food no water where were those cops to investigate you and your girlfriend cuz you were turning the spotlight around on me so nobody would look at you I’m going to call every new station and I’m going to let them know that the man who destroyed Wisconsin horse rescue with one single huge lie is now on the run with bench warrants for killing horses and starving those dogs outside your house because you and your little too young teenage Punk friends my life got ruined you ruined a grown woman’s life with children a single woman all those horses I gave them all to the Amish for free and you guys said I took them to a auction no they did I thought they were going to keep them so now I don’t know where those horses are because of you people I saved those horses I spent all that money to save them and here you are getting arrested for meth and pot and killing animals and you’re on the run after posting bail you can’t even show your face can you I hope they throw the book at you I hope they take you down piece by piece and I hope you feel every ounce of paint that you put those horses through including my horses in my land and my farm you took my Ranch from me that’s all I had I’ll never forget standing at the top of that Ridge and I looked over my farm cuz I know that was the last time I was going to see it because of you I hope for the rest of your life you live in pain the pain you put my horses to the pain you put me in my little girl through and the pain you put those horses through that you decided to start because drugs were more important I wish my horse rescue was still open because I would have knocked down that door and I would have took every single Bridle and I would have took all those horses from you you don’t deserve to ever see one ever again I hope they lock you up for good and I hope they stick your ass in mental facility cuz that’s what you deserve to go you lied lie lie to cover yourself and now look what you’ve done look at the mess you’ve made not only did you destroy your own life but you hurt other people in the process while you were telling people that I had nothing wrong with me that I didn’t have cancer and now Olivia’s got can’t breast cancer she has a fundraiser going I’m not allowed to have a fundraiser for my cancer that’s right after he destroyed me and I worked myself to the Bone I got cancer now and I didn’t even deserve it I did nothing but save those animals I sold everything anything and everything I ever owned motorcycle rallies to have girls wash bikes to raise money for those horses so they can have shelter and hay and a good home I took so good care of those horses I was up by 4:00 a.m. and in bed by 1:00 a.m. I got three and a half hours of sleep per day and you wanted to go on the internet and tell people that I wasn’t a good Rancher I hope they throw the book at you you finally got what you deserved for the rest of my life I’m going to remember saying this to you because I finally got to confront my abuser you deserve every shitty thing you get handed to you

  2. Marie

    December 6, 2023 at 9:27 am

    This young man is abusive and a huge danger to say the least,to women and animals…. He needs to be made accountable for his horrid actions,,, not bailed out by someone only to be a repeat offender…if he is not,,, the abuse will continue…..

    • Amanda Everhart

      June 27, 2024 at 3:22 pm

      Yes he is he stalked my farm and made rumors I was cleared of all accusations funny how he was actually abusing his horses with olivia Goddard and Mariah gander from viroqua and westby then they followed me to cashton then I moved to coon valley the same day it floods my small house I rented was ruined filled with water I was stuck in my van then it broke down they made a rumor that I wasn’t a flood victim them and all of their friends. They are all crazy Kayden is dangerous all he did was lie to the viroqua judge under oath.
      I wouldn’t board there horses because they owed money to another boarding facility so days later there was a rumor made by all three of them Kayden stood on top of his little shitty car took pics of a horse phoenix someone dropped off she had a turned stomach and no one knew they said she was 21 and found out she was 31 I did everything for that horse and all the others I rescued I even had a horse tied to my mail box and I called the sheriffs every time to take a report of each horse I got on that was neglected so they knew I was legit. John spears the head sheriff at the time knew I was innocent. He knew Kayden was a longtime criminal in viroqua warned me to keep them away so I did I blocked their fb accounts and the retaliated like children. How disgusting. He is still on the run with massive warrants.

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