Farmer and Bar M Ranch owner Kent Madison and Bar M Ranch Manager Trampas Shane Bergstrom have pleaded not guilty to five counts of second-degree animal neglect.
The men face charges stemming from reports about horse neglect and abuse this past winter at the dude ranch about 30 miles east of Pendleton in the Blue Mountains .
Judge Garry Reynolds heard the "not guilty" pleas Tuesday morning. He has scheduled a pretrial hearing for 10 a.m. Aug. 12.
Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Beckwith represented the state. Pendleton attorney Robert Collins represented Madison and Bergstrom.
Collins hasn't returned phone calls about the case.
The Umatilla County Sheriff John Trumbo said his office investigated the complaints that led to the charges.
"Our initial investigation indicated the horses weren't getting adequate feed, and we had some concerns," Trumbo said.
Investigators took pictures of the horses and questioned Madison and Bergstrom about the condition of the horses.
The sheriff's office also brought in veterinarian Fred Robinson from the Riverside Veterinary Clinic to evaluate the animals. Trumbo said Robinson gave each horse - more than 20 - a complete physical and took blood samples.
Robinson gave his findings to the sheriff's office, which handed all the information to the Umatilla County District Attorney's office.
Second-degree animal neglect is a Class B misdemeanor. According to Oregon Revises Statutes, animal neglect second degree occurs when a person "intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence fails to provide minimum care for an animal in such person's custody or control."