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Maximum Sentence for Cruelty to 14 Horses

State v. Diane and Thomas Silbaugh, cases we prosecuted on behalf of the Humane Society of Greater Akron in the Stow Municipal Court.

14 horses were removed from the Defendants’ property in Cuyahoga Falls in subzero temperatures this past February. Water buckets were frozen solid, and some horses were caked with frozen urine and fecal material. Horses suffered from dehydration, lack of adequate food, missing fur, untreated wounds and other treatable ailments due to neglect. Three were humanely euthanized due to their condition.

The Defendants were each found guilty of one count of animal cruelty. Judge Kim Hoover gave the defendants a blistering lecture on the seriousness of these crimes, and then sentenced both to the maximum jail time (90 days) and the maximum fine ($750.) Diane was taken immediately into custody. Thomas was permitted to serve his sentence at a facility where he is receiving rehabilitation for a medical condition, but will wear an ankle bracelet which does not allow him to move beyond a very narrow perimeter.

Defendants surrendered all 14 horses six months after the seizure. As a result, they have been ordered to pay more than $12,000 to Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary for board and care.

After their jail term, they will serve 12 months probation during which time they may not own, possess or live with animals except for the 5 dogs and 3 birds they currently possess. All animals must be kept in a humane, sanitary and lawful manner. They are subject to random inspections.

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