Equine cruelty: Skelton awaiting jury trial

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CANFIELD, Ohio – An attorney has requested a jury trial for Mahoning County horseman Tom Skelton, accused of animal cruelty after 15 allegedly sick and starving horses were seized from his farm in late October.

Skelton was in Canfield Area Court April 25 for a pre-trial. No resolution was reached, according to attorney James Messenger.

Other motion.

Messenger also filed a motion to suppress evidence, saying the search warrant county sheriff’s deputies and volunteers used to raid the Skelton farm off Raccoon Road in Canfield was not properly obtained.

A veterinarian accompanied sheriff’s deputies and volunteers to the farm after visitors, “maybe someone taking care of horses there,” filed complaints with the sheriff’s department, sheriff’s detective David Benigas previously said.

Benigas had also said the veterinarian, Suzanne Wilcox, made the determination which horses stayed and which were taken. Benigas said about 15 horses were left at the barn.

Of the 15 taken, Benigas said 13 belonged to Skelton. Benigas also said two of the horses seized were euthanized.

Since the raid, the rest of the horses have been in foster care.

Next up.

Skelton is scheduled for another hearing at the Canfield court in June.

Related coverage:

Skelton faces animal cruelty charges (11/9/2006)

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