Horse-abuse sentence due
Butler animals were starving, close to death

Monday, May 18, 1998

Enquirer Contributor

HAMILTON -- Nearly a year after two starving horses were removed from his farm, a St. Clair Township man will be sentenced in Hamilton Municipal Court today on charges of cruelty to animals.

Chris Miller, 4447 Morgenthaler Road, was found guilty of the criminal charges May 11 after a jury trial.

The charges were filed June 11 by Marie Marksbury, Butler County's chief dog warden. Ms. Marksbury was notified about the problem in May by the county humane association, which received the complaints at its animal shelter.

"People called here complaining that Mr. Miller's horses and several cows were very sick," shelter manager Glenna Carroll said. "We received three different complaints in about a two-week period beginning May 30."

Ms. Marksbury and deputy dog warden Julie Flanagan made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Mr. Miller at his home, returning once with a sheriff's deputy and search and seizure warrant.

"Our fifth visit out there we finally made contact with Mr. Miller," Ms. Marksbury said.

A veterinarian was brought in to evaluate the health of the two horses and nine cows and found the horses to be severely underfed and at risk of dying.

"One of the two horses was 250 to 300 pounds underweight, and the other was between 150 and 200 pounds underweight," Ms. Marksbury said.

The cows also were underfed but were in better health than the horses and were left on the farm.

Mr. Miller's trial was delayed until recently because he filed a number of pretrial motions in the case. He served as his own attorney. Mr. Miller's telephone number is not published, and he could not be reached for comment.

Ms. Dudley said the prosecution does not have a position on Mr. Miller's sentencing, which will be imposed by Judge John Rosmarin at the 1 p.m. hearing.

Ms. Flanagan has been caring for the horses since they were removed from Mr. Miller's farm. One has gained 200 pounds and the other has gained 150 pounds. Both animals are now in good health and will likely be adopted, Ms. Marksbury said.

"All they needed," she said, "was food and tender loving care."

The cows have since been moved to a different property and are under close watch by humane association officials. Ms. Marksbury said the cows are "looking good."

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