July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

20 convictions in animal cruelty case

WADSWORTH — The woman who had 28 horses seized from her Harrisville Township property in May was convicted on all 20 counts of animal cruelty against her late Thursday after a two-day trial in Wadsworth Municipal Court.

Patricia Brooks, 53, of Ashland, will be sentenced Oct. 9 on the second-degree misdemeanor charges in Municipal Judge Stephen McIlvaine’s court. The maximum punishment for each charge is 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

Jeff Holland, who prosecuted the case, said he requested the sentencing date be moved up because it costs the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals more than $300 a day to take care of the horses.

That amount does not include veterinary fees, said Penny Blake, humane officer for the SPCA.

Whether Brooks has to give up possession of the horses also will be determined by McIlvaine at the hearing.

The horses were taken from her property on Congress Road by the SPCA on May 23 after receiving a complaint that a dead horse was seen on the property.

When they came to the property, there were several horse carcasses found in a manure pile and others appearing malnourished. While 28 horses were taken, 18 horses remained on the property.

Brooks was accused of failing to provide adequate feed, shelter and veterinary care for the horses, which were found in a barn, a pasture, a paddock outside the barn and a pen behind the barn.

Some of the seized horses suffered from colic after they ate hay and others had hoof damage from standing in unclean stalls. Most of the horses stayed at foster farms, while some were in the care of a veterinarian.

All the seized horses survived and are in various stages of recovery, Blake said.

Cathy Denman, who fostered two horses — an 8-year-old thoroughbred mare and a yearling stallion — on her Guilford Township property, said when she first got them in May, they each drank four 5-gallon buckets of water.

The mare, which her family calls “Ladybones,” also had bite marks on her coat from other horses, she said, and the stallion had swelled joints from malnutrition.

It took several weeks for the mare to be able to trot, and Denman said she couldn’t believe it.

“I remember the first day it trotted,” she said. “I cried because I never thought I’d see that.”