YORK -- Patricia A. Chase, 54, of rural York County, has been fined $250 after pleading no contest to a charge of abandoning/cruelly neglecting an animal in a case stemming from a horse being found dead on her property.
According to court documents, the case was filed by the county attorney’s office in February.
Court documents indicate that a school bus driver called law enforcement when he saw a dead horse at a property along Road 10.
An investigator with the York County Sheriff’s Department went to the property, according to court documents, and there he “observed a dead horse which he opined had been dead for a while.” Chase, the owner of the horse, indicated to the investigator that the horse had died a week earlier.
“Upon surveying the area of the dead horse, the investigator did observe hay available for the remaining animals to eat and water was also available.”
The court finding, after a preliminary hearing was held in county court, included that the owner said the horse had last been seen by a veterinarian in December, 2018, and she said the veterinarian “advised it was extremely thin and needed a specific diet in order to gain weight. A necropsy was performed on the horse. The report stated: ‘Based on the gross examination with findings of emaciation and lack of fat store, I suspect the cause of death may have been the result of a combination of inclement weather along with a lack of fat stores.’”
Initially, Chase was charged with abandoning/cruelly neglecting an animal, a misdemeanor; abandoning/cruelly neglecting an animal resulting in injury/death, a Class 4 felony; and improper disposal of a carcass, a Class 2 misdemeanor.
The court finding, following a preliminary hearing in county court, said “what is compelling to the court is that the evidence established that the horse was down for three days before it died; during those three days, no on-site veterinarian care or other assistance to care for the horse was sought, even though the veterinarian had opined to the owner that if the horse was down for more than 24 hours, she may not get back up and may need to be put down. Leaving a horse down for three days with the evidence that strict diet previously prescribed by the veterinarian may have not been followed . . . leads this court to conclude that the evidence as a whole established that the crime of animal cruelty was committed.”
The charges against Chase were then amended, based on the court opinion from the preliminary hearing. She was then charged with one count of abandoning/cruelly neglecting an animal, which again is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Chase pleaded no contest to the remaining charge and was fined. She will also have to pay court costs.