Skelton faces animal cruelty charges


SALEM, Ohio – Animal cruelty charges are pending this week against Thomas Skelton, manager of the New Wilmington Livestock Auction, after 15 sick and starving horses were seized from his Ohio farm.

Skelton did not return calls seeking comment.


Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department Detective David Benigas said 15 horses, with various levels of starvation and sickness, were seized Oct. 26 from the Skelton farm off Raccoon Road near Canfield.

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, Benigas said.

Benigas said the veterinarian, Suzanne Wilcox, made the determination which horses stayed and which were taken and placed in foster care. Benigas said about 15 horses were left at the barn.

Of the 15 taken, Benigas said 13 belonged to Skelton.

Bad shape

“I don’t know anything about horses, but the vet said they were underfed, some were several hundred pounds underweight. Their water had algae in it, and they stood in manure for quite some time, so some had hoof problems,” Benigas said.

Benigas also said two of the horses seized were euthanized. The rest are in foster care in the area until the investigation is complete.

Benigas said Skelton is likely to face 13 charges of animal cruelty this week.

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