Sugarcreek Livestock Trucking Inc, Sugarcreek, OH pled guilty to 31 counts of PA Title 18, 5511(e.1), the PA Horse Transport Law, in New Holland, PA District Court on December 14, 2001. District Justice Rodney Hartman fined Sugarcreek Livestock Trucking Inc, $51.50 on each of the 31 counts for a total of $1596.50 plus $86.50 in court costs. Roy Baker is the owner of Sugarcreek Livestock Trucking, Inc.
The charges are the result of an incident on Tuesday, September 4, 2001 when the PA SPCA, assisted by the New Holland Police Department, NHPD, stopped a double deck cattle trailer carrying 31 horses on Tuesday, September 4, 2001 in Lancaster County.
District Justice Rodney Hartman found the New Holland Sales Stables guilty on 31 counts of Title 18, 5511(e.1) after a hearing on Tuesday, November 20, 2001.
Judge Hartman imposed a $50.00 fine on each of the 31 counts for a total of $1550.00 plus court costs. Judge Hartman also awarded the 31 horses to the PA SPCA. No testimony or evidence was presented as to who is the actual owner of the 31 horses.
All charges against Shawn White, Mount Vernon, OH,the driver of the double deck cattle trailer were dismissed in an apparent plea agreement for his testimony in the hearing against the New Holland Sales Stables. Mr. White testified as a witness for the prosecution.
The PA Horse Transport Law, Act 64, went into effect on August 25, 2001.Act 64 amends Title 18 5511(e), making it illegal to transport any equine animal in a conveyance that has more than one level stacked on top of each other. Each horse is a separate offense. The minimum fine for each count is $50.00. The maximum fine is $750.00 for each count. Jail time may also be imposed. Forfeiture of the animals can also be ordered, along with restitution for the cost of caring for the horses.
Penalties under Title 18, 5511
(m) Forfeiture.--In addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for any violation of this section may order the forfeiture or surrender of any abused, neglected or deprived animal of the defendant to any society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals duly incorporated under the laws of this Commonwealth.
(m.1) Fine for summary offense.--In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person convicted of a summary offense under this section shall pay a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $750 or to imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.
In an unrelated incident, Arlow Kiehl, Watertown, NY court appearance scheduled for September 19, 2001 in Barker, NY, for 32 misdemeanor counts of the illegal transport of horses has been rescheduled for December 21, 2001. Mr. Kiehl was arrested in February 2001 in Barker, NY for transporting horses on a double deck trailer from a PA auction.
Members of the EPN first approached the PA legislature in 1996 asking for legislation to ban the use of double deck cattle trailers in PA. Members of the EPN later testified on the cruel and inhumane transport of horses in double deck cattle trailers in June 1998 at a PA House Judiciary Committee hearing held in Gettsyburg, PA.
The EPN contacted the New York State Police requesting and receiving permission for New York State Police Trooper Thomas Garcia to testify before the PA House Judiciary Committee. Trooper Garcia has hundreds of arrests under NY's law banning double deckers. The EPN also arranged for Dr. Lopez to testify. Dr. Lopez has assisted the NYSP on several occasions when double deck cattle trailers were stopped in NY with horses on, including the infamous "Torture Trail" and "Horse Popsicle" cases. The EPN also arranged for 2 experts from a leading horse transportation company to testify. The EPN notified the media of the hearing. The media coverage of the hearing was due to the EPN's news releases.
The EPN provided photographic evidence to the legislature documenting the continued use of double deckers and the need for the law banning their use in PA.
The EPN asked for and received written support from over 30 national horse organizations for our efforts to pass legislation in PA banning double deckers to transport horses. The EPN has thousands of letters supporting the EPN and our efforts to ban double deckers in PA. In addition the EPN has thousands of petition signatures supporting the EPN and our efforts.
The EPN has kept the issue of double deckers in front of the news media and general public through our website, press releases and EPN booths.
The EPN's goal was to pass legislation banning the use of double deckers to transport ANY horse ANYWHERE. The EPN never lost sight of that goal and refused to accept anything less.
When animal and horse welfare organizations were willing to accept the 3 Legged Horse Bill, because "something was better than nothing" the EPN, with support from law enforcement, prosecutors, and savvy political news reporters, stood our ground.
When the Horse Transport Bill stalled in committee, the EPN went to the press. Legislators, angered by the possibility of bad press coverage due to their lack of movement on the Horse Transport Bill, threatened EPN board members and threatened to abuse the power vested in them by the voting public. These same legislators publicly denounced the EPN due to our refusal to kow tow to their egos. Again the EPN stood our ground supported by experienced investigative and political news reporters, law enforcement, prosecutors and progressive horse welfare groups such as the CA Equine Council and Equine Advocates.
The result is legislation that is engineering based, in other words, very specific language without loopholes for defense attorneys to persuade judges and juries that no crime was committed. No expert witnesses are needed to testify to prove that horses are being transported in a cruel and inhumane manner. No expert witnesses are needed to testify that double deck trailers are cruel. No need to "come back later and amend it". PA now has the strongest law in the nation banning double deckers to transport horses.
Long before the issue of double deckers was an "easy" or "warm & fuzzy" or "cash cow" news story the EPN directed & continues to direct our efforts at the prohibition of double deckers to transport horses.
The EPN has publicly and privately thanked the individuals, organizations, legislators and Governor Ridge for the introduction, support, passage, and signing of the Horse Transport Bill.
The EPN contacted the New York State Police urging them to step up enforcement of NY law prohibiting the use of double deck cattle trailers. The increased enforcement has resulted in numerous guilty convictions and $8000.00 paid in fines.
The EPN has focused on the issue of double deckers since 1996. The EPN's website has been dedicated to this issue from the inception of the EPN website.
Indiana is now following PA's lead and introducing legislation modeled after Act 64 to ban the use of double deckers in IN, home to the infamous Shipshewanna horse auction. Senator Wyss (R) is introducing the legislation after viewing a 3 part news story aired reported by Karen Hensel of WISH-TV. The EPN provided video footage and background info to WISH-TV & suggested the introduction of legislation in IN to ban double deck trailers to transport horses modeled after PA's Horse Transport Law.
The EPN appreciates WISH-TV airing this story and applauds Senator Wyss for introducing this legislation.