A California man facing more than 60 counts of animal cruelty in connection with the alleged maltreatment of horses on his Lassen County farm has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Last year, The Grace Foundation of Northern California along with Lassen County animal control authorities began investigating conditions at the Whispering Pines Ranch in Susanville. The probe revealed a herd of horses living on the property without food. The carcasses of 25 dead horses were also discovered at the ranch. Grace Foundation personnel later removed 56 horses from the property. All are under Grace Foundation care.

Ranch owner Dwight Bennett was subsequently charged with 70 counts of animal cruelty. A spokesperson for Lassen County District Attorney Bob Burns said that Bennett was later called upon to answer on 65 of those cruelty counts.

Lassen County Superior Court Public Information Officer Nancy Holsey said that on Jan. 3 Bennett pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Bennett was unavailable for comment.

Bennett’s case has been continued to Feb. 7, Holsey said.