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Article published September 11, 2013
Rachel Graham Butler
The news article “Equine Angels still holding his horses” (Aug. 31) stated five horse owners who were charged with animal cruelty are “alleging their civil rights were violated when Equine Angels Rescue and state police took horses from their properties.” Lawyer Micheal Jewart, representing Elan Welter-Lewis, stated “these animals were seized. Period.” Jewart was correct in his statement. According to the Pennsylvania Animal Cruelty law section 7, “Where an animal thus seized is found to be neglected or starving, the police officer or agent is authorized to provide such care as is reasonably necessary. ... The cost of the keeping, care and destruction of the animal shall be paid by the owner thereof and claims for the costs shall constitute a lien upon the animal.” However, questions that appear as contradictions remain: How are civil rights violated when the wellness of neglected horses are at stake? How can any of the five owners believe they can now request the return of their rehabilitated horses? Furthermore, when are we to anticipate Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger’s “plans to outline protocol for investigating abuse and neglect cases”? Butler County seemed to be headed toward promulgating equine cruelty; however Goldinger is only revoking the cause. Initially, Goldinger authorized state police officers to issue citations for equine cruelty. Ironically, charges were dropped shortly before each case was brought to trial.