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Butler County man could face jail, fines in horse cruelty case

| Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 10:27 a.m.

A Butler County man could spend 90 days in jail if he's convicted of 36 animal cruelty counts stemming from the seizure of six malnourished horses at his farm last month, police said Tuesday.

He could be given up to $300 in fines on each of the counts.

State police Trooper Shawn King said the summary citations against Brian Arendosh, 48, are for nine horses at his Fairview farm. King said Arendosh is accused of not providing adequate shelter for any of the horses and failing to provide proper food and water and veterinary care for the six that a rescue group took from the farm March 21.

King said three horses were not taken because they were not in as poor shape as the others.

Arendosh said he couldn't comment because he had not received paperwork, which police filed Monday at District Judge Lewis Stoughton's office in Chicora. He did not identify his attorney.

He also would not say how many horses remained on his farm. Pam Vivirito, founder of Equine Angels Rescue, said Arendosh still has three horses and she'd like to see them surrendered, too.

Arendosh claimed the rescue organization seized the horses illegally. Arendosh can argue the charges in court if he chooses to plead not guilty.

The organization went to Arendosh's farm after a passerby noticed several of the horses outside in bad weather. Vivirito said that six of the horses were caked with mud and manure, were malnourished and suffered from health ailments, including heart murmurs, rain rot and worms.

Vivirito said the horses are recovering at a Jefferson farm and have gained weight.

King said a district judge can impose a maximum fine of $300 for each violation. State law also says a summary offense can carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail. Vivirito said she wanted the charges to be more serious.

“It's like a slap on the hand,” Vivirito said. “You can starve your horse, and it's like a speeding ticket. It's crazy.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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