KITTANNING — An Indiana County man was sentenced this week to four years probation for two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals at the Armstrong County Court of Common Pleas.
Jonathan Wayne Stahl, 32, of Glen Campbell, pleaded guilty on March 22 to six misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.
Stahl’s convictions were based on an incident in which he reportedly starved and did not provide veterinary care to six of his horses, which were removed from a Wayne Township property on Aug. 31, 2019.
One of the horses later died from its condition after its removal from the property.
In addition to paying $1,150 in court-related costs, he was ordered to pay $20,000 in total restitution to the three animal rescues that took care of his horses.
This includes $7,583 to Whiskey Acres Sanctuary, $3,583 to Rory Ridge Rescue, Inc. and $8,834 to Second Chance Equine Association.
During his probation, Stahl is ordered to refrain from the use, possession and transportation of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances unless lawfully prescribed, undergo urinalysis when requested, and perform 100 hours of community service.
In addition, he is ordered to forfeit all rights, titles and ownership to all horses seized in the case, will provide the Armstrong County probation department with veterinary records for all horses owned by him, upon request, and is subject to inspection of all of his horses, wherever located.
He will face no further penalty for the remainder of his charges.
As for the surviving horses, in a message on its Facebook page, Rory Ridge Rescue said Jax, one of the five living horses that they took in, has been officially signed over to the rescue, but, in the words of officials there, has already found a new “forever home,” and will be going to his new home shortly.
Two of the horses, Autumn and Jasper, were initially taken to Whiskey Acres Sanctuary for treatment and rehabilitation, but were eventually transferred to Liberty Acres Equine Rescue and Sanctuary in Dayton.
Liberty Acres owner Christy Mester said both horses are now healthy and thriving, and are available for adoption now.
She said both horses were once race horses, and with new training, Autumn could be a race horse again, while Jasper would likely only be allowed to be ridden lightly due to leg issues.
The final two surviving horses, Lakota and Apache, were taken in to the Second Chance Equine Association, as well as Comanche, the horse who passed away. SCEA Vice President Glenn Robison said both surviving horses are doing well, and will soon be ready for adoption, now that the horses no longer belong to Stahl.
“We are thankful that the case has finally been resolved, and we look forward to being able to work with these horses, and find them the homes they deserve,” Robison said.
Nick Vercilla is a staff reporter for the Leader Times, a Sample News Group sibling of The Indiana Gazette.