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Those who love their pets tend to enjoy all animals. Our animal owners are no different. Check in on News-Herald staffers Robin Palmer and Cheryl Sadler as they share their own animal tales and announce upcoming events in Lake and Geauga counties.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bits and pieces from today's News-Herald

Cat sanctuary has adoptions

Caroline's Kids Cat Rescue has regular adoption hours from noon to 4 p.m. Fridays at the sanctuary, 7394 Morley Road, Concord Township.

Adoptions also are scheduled by appointment Monday through Friday. Kittens and cats range in age from 4 months to 10 years. All have been spayed or neutered, tested for feline leukemia and FLV and vaccinated.

For more information call Judie at 440-449-3496.

Malnourished horses start to recover

FREMONT, Ohio (AP) - Dozens of malnourished Arabian horses rescued from an Ohio farm are starting to recover but remain weak, according to volunteers caring for the animals.

The horses remain painfully thin and rely on blankets to keep warm, said Shayna Roberts, a 26-year-old animal technician who works 12-hour days at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds organizing the volunteers.

Until the horses' stomachs are stronger, they can eat only hay. The next dietary step will be mushed-up grain and will require each horse to be individually fed and monitored.

Then there's the medical care: hooves, joints, teeth, worm tablets, vaccinations.

"The cost is going to be phenomenal," said Rebekah Recker, one of the core volunteers. "Even with all the help and donations, there's gonna be specific needs that have to be paid for."

The Humane Society of Ottawa County said it received an anonymous tip about the horses and rescued 36 of them Jan. 29 from a farm near Oak Harbor, about 25 miles southeast of Toledo. Authorities say one horse was already dead by the time they got to the farm and six had to be euthanized.

Robin Vess, the owner of the horse farm, is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 24. She faces 42 counts of cruelty to animals. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

Mark Davis, her attorney, has said only some of the horses were underweight, and their malnourishment was a result of illness, not lack of food.

Vess had struggled to care for the horses because she was traumatized by the recent death of her mother and two aunts and did not have enough help on the farm, Davis said. Vess had reached out to the humane society for help with the horses on numerous occasions but did not receive assistance.

"This is not something the humane society simply discovered and then ran into the burning barn to save the horses," Davis said. "They knew and they did nothing. They're equally as responsible as my client and I can prove that in court."

Chris Marcinko, an attorney who prosecutes cruelty cases for the humane society, said laws govern when and how a humane officer may act.

"The humane officer is required to follow and comply with those laws and rules, even in situations in which the laws and rules may be unpopular with some individuals," he said.

Diana Murphy, a longtime Lucas County horse rescuer and cruelty investigator, said she believes the Ottawa County Humane Society acted too slowly.

"Those horses didn't get like that in a couple of days. It took at least three to six months," she said.

But Murphy also criticized Vess, saying the owner could have contacted rescue shelters and members of the horse community for help if she had been serious about seeking assistance.

"I guarantee she would have got help," Murphy said.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,


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