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Thursday, Jul 21, 2011County: Oxford
Alleged: Angel L. Kist
A Greenwood woman was charged last Thursday (a hot day) with cruelty to animals, for allegedly leaving two horses in a metal, closed-up barn in Bethel with no food or water.
The horses were housed on property owned by Larry Smith, who several years ago was found guilty of cruelty to animals for the treatment of his own horses and cows.
But, said Animal Control Officer Sue Milligan, "the care of these horses has nothing to do with him."
Angel L. Kist, 32, was arrested by Oxford County Deputy Mike Parshall at the barn, at 364 Vernon Street, and was later released on bail.
The horses were taken from the barn by Maine Animal Welfare agents.
Two other horses had previously been seized by the state, according to Milligan.
She said she has received other complaint calls recently about Kist's horses, but none of them came from Smith.
Thursday's call, she said, came from Smith's attorney, Jarrod Crockett.
In 2007 Smith was found guilty of criminal charges for failing to protect a cow and calf from the heat, and of depriving them of clean conditions by keeping them in a trailer for two weeks in the summer; depriving two horses of clean conditions; and depriving a mare and her foal, born out-doors in December, of food, medical attention, shelter and protection from the weather.
He was also found guilty on a civil charge of failing to maintain a structurally sound shelter for livestock.
The court ruled then that he could keep possession of three Percheron horses, but otherwise faced a lifetime ban on the ownership of animals, except for household pets.
Milligan, who has served as ACO since 2009, said that last fall a lease was drawn up by an attorney to allow Kist's horses to stay on Smith's property.
"The D.A. reviewed it, and as long as [Smith] kept his distance and had nothing to do with the horses, he's fine," she said.
As for horses currently owned by Smith, Milligan said there is only one, one of the three Percherons, currently on his property.
"That horse is fine, and appears well taken care of," she said. "I do occasional inspections based on the court order."
Crockett on Thursday's events
Crockett, who said he had drawn up the lease last fall, said Tuesday that Smith had contacted him last Thursday morning to say there were horses in the barn, and Smith wondered what to do because of the restrictions on him.
Crockett said he called Milligan, then went to the barn himself and found the animals without food or water. They were very thin, he said.
"The horses had been abandoned," said Crockett.
Parshall then arrived, followed by Milligan and then Kist, he said.
According to Parshall, he arrested Kist after she became confrontational. She was taken to the Oxford County Jail.
Crockett said Smith believed that Kist had removed the animals from the barn the day before, but had apparently returned them later.
"If it wasn't for Larry, the horses might not have been found," said Crockett.
Parshall said of Smith, "Larry Smith is not implicated in this. He was a responsible party in this investigation."
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