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Lacking money, horse group adopts out animals

September 11, 2013 News Extra

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CABOT — Saying she can no longer afford to care for animals that were seized by the state, the owner of a horse rescue group adopted out six horses whose ownership is the subject of a two-court debate.

Pam Vivirito, founder of Equine Angels, on Tuesday said six horses that originally belonged to Brian Arendosh, 49, of Fairview Township now have new homes.

State police had filed animal cruelty charges against Arendosh in March, on the same day six horses were removed from his Cherry Road property.

The charges were dropped later, and Arendosh sued in federal court to have the horses returned. He also asked a Butler County judge to order the horses to be returned to him, claiming they were illegally seized by police.

While the court battles continue, Vivirito said the cost of feeding and caring for the animals became too much for the organization because the state was not supporting the group, and it cannot solicit donations.

Vivirito said as part of the ongoing litigation, officials learned the paperwork that makes the organization a charity was accidentally filed under the name “Equine Angles.” The group cannot solicit donations until new paperwork is filed under the name “Equine Angels.”

Vivirito said she had the right to adopt out the animals, collecting a $500 each adoption fee because Arendosh surrendered the animals to her group.

Equine Angels claims to have a letter by Arendosh voluntarily granting the group ownership of the horses. But that letter has come under scrutiny in court because Arendosh claims it was written under duress and threat of arrest.

Arendosh’s attorney, Alexander Lindsay of Butler, could not be reached for comment.

Meantime, Vivirito said Equine Angels now is looking for new homes for horses that had been removed from the Clearfield Township home of Elan Welter-Lewis.

Like Arendosh, Welter-Lewis’s 10 animals were taken when she was charged with animal cruelty, but the charges also were later dropped.

Welter-Lewis is suing the group in federal court. Her attorney, Mike Jewart of Butler, has previously said his client is considering taking action in county court also.

When reached Tuesday, Jewart said Welter-Lewis is weighing her options.

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