Crawford County, Pa.: Woman sentenced for animal cruelty

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SALEM, Ohio – A Crawford County, Pa., woman charged with animal cruelty when state police found 29 dead or dying Holstein cattle at her farm earlier this year has been sentenced.

Ronda Hatcher was sentenced Aug. 16 to 90 to 180 days in jail, two years probation, and more than $6,450 in fines. Hatcher was credited for 10 days already served at the Crawford County Correctional Facility.

District Justice Rita Marwood allowed Hatcher work release privileges and ordered her to undergo a drug and alcohol and psychological assessment.

She may not own or care for any animal until her probation ends.

Less than the maximum

Hatcher’s 29 counts of animal cruelty were punishable by up to $750 in fines and up to 90 days in jail for each of the charges.

Her maximum penalty could have been $21,750 and more than seven years in jail.

What happened

In February, Hatcher’s farm neighbors tipped off state police and the county humane society after they noticed something was wrong at her Conneautville farm.

According to reports used to get a search warrant, a neighboring farmer told deputies he went to the farm because he knew Hatcher kept cattle but he had not seen any outside for some time.

That man also told officers there were dead cattle at the farm and several others appeared to be starving and neglected.

Police raid

A police raid turned up 21 dead cattle inside the barn, three dead cows outside, and five animals described as “barely alive” by state police Corporal Lee Formichella.

The animals appeared to have starved to death and had no feed or water, Formichella said. The five cattle found alive were euthanized.

Related coverage:

Farm manager charged with animal cruelty (3/11/2004)

Crawford County: Police find 24 dead cows in Pa. (2/26/2004)

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