157 horses will soon have new homes.
Judge Bruce Romanick issues an order this afternoon to allow the sale, adoption or disposal of the animals in both Burleigh and Morton counties.
The horses were seized after 96 were found dead on a ranch near New Salem last month, and another three dead on land east of Bismarck.
All were owned by Bill Kiefer but have been under the care of the sheriff's departments.
Prosecutors from both Burleigh and Morton counties petitioned in court Thursday that ownership of the horses be taken from Kiefer so they in turn could be adopted out or sold.
Romanick ruled today that Kiefer cannot provide adequate care for animals and granted custody to the counties.
Morton County sheriff Dave Shipman says he plans to meet with Triple-H Miniature Horse Rescue tomorrow to develop a plan to find new owners for the 93 horses still at the Kiefer ranch and the other 26 at the rescue.
Burleigh County Deputy Ron Mayer says a brand inspection will be done Monday with the 38 animals being cared for.
He says they'll begin finding new owners for the horses after that.