ARMSTRONG COUNTY (KDKA) — An Armstrong County man is accused of abusing, torturing and neglecting nine horses.
The Armstrong District Attorney accuses 31-year-old Jonathan Stahl of torturing, neglecting and cruelty to animals.READ MORE: Eagle Escapes From Pittsburgh's National Aviary, Whereabouts Currently Unknown
According to the criminal complaint, police discovered that the horses on the farm were underweight and suffering from rain rot, digestive problems, and had issues with their hooves and teeth.
When police returned to seize the horses, three of the horses were gone. They have not been located.
Three rescue organizations took the remaining six horses. One of the horses later died.
Mindy James is the vice president of Whiskey Acres Sanctuary, one of the rescue organizations that took two of the horses.
“Their condition was near-death,” James said. “They were about a 1 1/2 on a body condition scale, nine being the highest. Their bones were sticking out. They hadn’t had water or food for a very long time.”
Care for the horses was extensive and cost the rescue organization thousands of dollars per horse.READ MORE: Steelers LB T.J. Watt Downgraded Due To Injury, Will Not Play Sunday Against Cincinnati Bengals
“The first ten days is very crucial with the refeeding, and you have to go slow,” said Michelle Marshall, a caretaker for two of the horses. “So it was like coming to the barn every four hours for the first two weeks.”
WATCH: KDKA’s Shelby Cassesse gives an update on the horses that were rescued.
The five remaining horses are progressing in their recovery. Caretakers are optimistic they will return to full health.
Stahl is charged with 12 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, six counts of cruelty to animals and six counts of neglect of animals.
Stahl is also accused of theft of services because he did not pay a man he hired to care for the animals.
He will be in court on Dec. 3.MORE NEWS: Port Authority Approves 5-Year Agreement To Let Pitt, Chatham Students, Faculty And Staff Ride For Free
To raise money for the horses’ care, which is covered strictly by donations, Whiskey Acres Sanctuary is hosting an event Saturday in Homer City.