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Loyalhanna horse case has happy conclusion

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 12:15 a.m.
Scott Downs greets a 2 1/2-year-old horse he named Franklin that he has cared for the past two months at his Hempfield home on Jan. 22, 2013. The stud paint horse was rescued May 10 from the Loyalhanna home of Stephanie Baker and is now available for adoption. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Scott Downs trains a 2 1/2-year-old horse he named Franklin that he has cared for the past two months at his Hempfield home on Jan, 22, 2013. The stud paint horse was rescued May 10 from the Loyalhanna home of Stephanie Baker and is now ready for adoption. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

At least three horses seized last year from two Loyalhanna women are ready for adoption now that court cases have been resolved.

Second Chance Equine Association President Bryce LeJeune said he was glad to see the eight-month process end after one of the women dropped her appeal last week.

“We're just thankful that it's over,” LeJeune said.

Eight horses and two dogs were seized May 10 from the Loyalhanna home of Stephanie Baker, 22.

Baker and Stacia Bee, 35, were cited for animal cruelty after investigators said they found the animals in poor health. Both women maintain they properly cared for the animals.

With Baker forgoing a court hearing Tuesday by earlier dropping a summary appeal, all of the animals have been relinquished and can find new homes.

LeJeune said at least three horses — one of Baker's and two of Bee's — need adoptive homes. All of the horses are in foster homes, and some of the foster parents plan to adopt the horses, he said.

Scott Downs of Hempfield has been fostering a 2 12-year-old horse for the past two months. The friendly, smart horse that he has named “Franklin” will be up for adoption.

“He was the only one left that wasn't fostered out,” Downs said.

Both women were found guilty in summary trials before Washington Township District Judge Jason Buczak during the summer.

Both appealed. But Bee withdrew her appeal in December and Baker did the same Thursday.

A great Dane seized from the property has been adopted by a family that was fostering it, said Janet Dillon, an officer with the Humane Society of Westmoreland County.

Bee was ordered to pay $4,603 in restitution and Baker was ordered to pay $4,148 in restitution, court records show.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini @tribweb.com.

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