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Lawsuit over Butler Co. horse seizures moved to federal court

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Friday, July 19, 2013, 7:36 p.m.

The Attorney General's Office on Friday moved a lawsuit over horse seizures in Butler County to federal court because the five horse owners who sued are claiming a state trooper and people connected to two private organizations violated their civil rights by taking their horses.

The owners sued July 2 in Butler County Common Pleas Court. They claimed state Trooper Shawn E. King, Equine Angels Rescue, its founder Pamela Vivirito and Brian Burks, a veterinarian at Fox Equine Center, committed fraud, civil rights violations of due process, unreasonable searches and seizures, invasion of privacy, trespassing and racketeering.

Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger last week withdrew criminal charges of animal abuse and neglect against two of the horse owners, Brian Arendosh of Fairview and Geraldine Geibel of Summit, and said the county needs a better process for investigating neglect charges. The other plaintiffs are Elan L. Lewis of Clearfield and Debra Gaus and daughter Jessica Gossett of Polk, Venango County.



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