Five horse owners and the Cabot-based animal rescue group that took possession of their animals appear to have found common ground.
The horse owners sued Equine Angels Rescue in federal court for the return of their horses, claiming the animals were taken under duress and threat of prosecution.
Two of the five horse owners also filed corresponding requests with the Butler County Court of Common Pleas. Those two horse owners allege their horses were removed illegally as part of a police investigation into alleged animal cruelty, and therefore should be returned because the cases were dismissed by county District Attorney Richard Goldinger.
While court records and lawyers indicate no official settlement has been inked, they agree there’s been a resolution.
At the federal court level, an independent mediator reported to the court on Tuesday that the matter has been resolved.
A hearing at the county court level scheduled for Wednesday was canceled based on the development in federal court.
“The only thing I’m permitted to say is that all relevant parties are close to settling,” said Butler attorney Al Lindsay on Wednesday. “No settlement papers have been signed, but there certainly is an agreement in principal.”
In the lawsuit, Lindsay represents Brian Arendosh of Fairview Township; Geraldine Geibel of Summit Township; Debra Gaus and Jessica Gosset of Venango County; and Elan Welter-Lewis of Clearfield Township.
Pam Vivirito, Equine Angels Rescue owner, said a confidentiality clause in the proposed settlement bars all parties from talking about the settlement details.