The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 20, 2013

Hollsopple man charged with cruelty to horses

Patrick Buchnowski

HOLLSOPPLE — The man authorities said was in possession of badly emaciated horses on a Hollsopple farm has been charged with eight counts of cruelty to animals.

Tina Thompson, an officer with the Humane Society of Somerset County, filed nontraffic citations against Barry Hostetler, 42. His address is listed as Baughman Farm Road in Hollsopple.

Seven horses were seized by the humane society on June 13. An eighth horse had to be put down because of its poor condition.

“Charges have been filed,” Thompson said. “This is all going to court.”

A telephone message left at Hostetler’s farm was not returned.

Thompson said Hostetler has been the target of an investigation by the Humane Society of Somerset County for several months.

He buys horses that normally would be slaughtered, she said.

“He has a history of purchasing horses at auctions and taking them home, saying he is going to rehabilitate them,” Thompson said.

The horses are then used for children to ride.

“In the condition that they’re in, that’s ill treating them,” she said. “You’re actually running the horses to death.”

The horses’ stalls were found to have no feed, hay or water, Thompson said.

Authorities are searching for other people who may have been involved with the animals, she said.

The seven horses seized are being kept at an undisclosed location. The volunteer caregivers wish to remain anonymous.

Donations are being accepted for the care of the animals.

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