“I am grateful for the outcome and feel some justice has been found for the two horses that had to be put to sleep.”
A Mifflin County man was found guilty of nine counts of animal cruelty leading to the death of two horses and leaving a third in sickly condition.
Charles Fisher of 900 Lockport Road, Lewistown, was charged in connection with an incident July 27 outside a New Holland auction house.
His wife, Lori Fisher, and Patty Sherwood of 100 Tigger Lane, McClure, also were charged. Assistant District Attorney Christine Wilson, who prosecuted the case, said charges were withdrawn against Sherwood, and Lori Fisher was found not guilty on all nine counts.
Wilson said Charles Fisher was will pay a $900 fine, court costs and restitution in the amount $1,390, payable to the Lancaster County SPCA.
He was tried Wednesday morning before District Judge Jene Wilwerth. He has the option to appeal.
Besides a count of animal cruelty attached to each of the horses, Fisher was charged with additional charges for depriving the horses of necessary food and veterinary care, and for arranging the sale of animals in poor condition.
According to a report Sept. 8, Fisher was involved with transporting or arranging transport to New Holland of three Arabian-type horses — a roan-colored, a dark bay-colored and a chestnut-colored mare — in “an inhumane manner.”
Because of the “severely dilapidated condition” of the horses, they were unable to sustain their own weight during transport, according to citations filed before DJ Rodney Hartman. All three horses were described in the documents as emaciated and lethargic.
The roan horse sustained nerve damage to its leg when it fell, and the bay suffered “further stress and deterioration,” the citations said. Both had to be euthanized.
The 17-year-old chestnut mare survived.
Susan Martin, director of the Lancaster County SPCA, said the animal shelter got involved after receiving a tip about the transaction.
The horses were being sold on a Sunday evening in the parking lot at New Holland Sales Stables, 101 W. Fulton St., she said. The auction house was closed at the time and “had nothing to do with this,” Martin said.
The SPCA took custody of the horses, she said, and Brandywine Valley Veterinary Hospital in Coatesville provided critical-care treatment for three weeks for the surviving mare. The other two horses were euthanized the next day.
The surviving horse was taken Aug. 13 to Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Woodbine, Maryland. Martin said the mare, named Anastasia’s Ally, is now in “very good” condition — the horse has gained 128 pounds since August.
“Although I wished the fines would have been steeper,” Martin said, “I am grateful for the outcome and feel some justice has been found for the two horses that had to be put to sleep.”
Martin said this was by far the worst case of horse abuse that she’s seen, and is the only case in which horses had to be euthanized.