Three years have passed since hundreds of heavily armed police officers stormed the infamous Quälhof in Hefenhofen TG. The pictures of dead and emaciated horses shocked the whole of Switzerland in summer 2017. According to a court insider, at least 13 horses should have died on the farm of Ulrich K. * (52) in the months before the court clearance (BLICK reported).
At the scene of the event, where K. has been resisting the authorities for years, calm has returned. Since his animals were confiscated and auctioned off, Switzerland’s best-known animal torturer has primarily dedicated himself to agriculture.
“Otherwise it bangs!”
BLICK meets Ulrich K. when he is haying with his tractor. He raises his forefinger menacingly and shouts: “Get out of the way, otherwise it will be bang!” The nerves are still bare. Because for the main player in the Hefenhofen case, the matter is not over yet.
The Thurgau public prosecutor told BLICK that a file will be opened in the next few days based on a supplementary evidence application. One cannot say when exactly charges will be brought, says media spokesman Marco Breu.
But: “In terms of time, we are talking about a few weeks – subject to other findings. We are therefore immediately before the end of the process. » Animal rights activist Erwin Kessler (76) takes the procedure too long. He already filed a regulatory complaint against the prosecutor last spring.
Prosecutor justifies long trial
The criticism cannot understand this. As a result of the Hefenhofen case, prosecutors were introduced as animal protection specialists, said Marco Breu. “The allegations that criminal investigations are made worse and are not given priority is therefore wrong and must be rejected.”
It is not surprising that the investigation around Ulrich K. is time-consuming. The former horse breeder sees himself as a victim of the judiciary; in the past, against earlier decisions, he has brought several cases to the federal court.
File fight in the veterinary office
Now it is becoming apparent that the Thurgau farmers could be put on trial in the coming year. However, everything is still open in the investigation against the retired cantonal veterinarian Paul Witzig (65). The veterinarian is faced with the accusation of not pulling Ulrich K. out of circulation for years.
Here, the proceedings stood still for a year because the files seized during a house search in the veterinary office were sealed in the meantime. The investigators first had to enforce their unsealing at the compulsory measures court. Now, in August, hearings should continue. It is the presumption of innocence.