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Friday, Sep 9, 2005County: Marshall
» Thomas L. Rine
» Lynell Jean Rine
West Virginia State Police troopers have charged a Marshall County Animal Control officer and his wife, a former employee of the Ohio County Animal Shelter, each with three counts of animal cruelty and 19 counts of failing to register dogs with the county assessor.
Thomas L. Rine, 43, and Lynell Jean Rine, 45, both of RD 2, Box 1754, Moundsville, were arrested on Sept 15 and arraigned by Marshall County Magistrate William D. Anderson, who released the two on their own recognizance. No pretrial conferences have yet been set.
The investigation by the State Police began Sept. 9, when Trooper R.M. Hogan received a complaint that the Rines were mistreating several domesticated animals at their property on Nixon Ridge.
Subsequent to receiving the complaint, Hogan, Trooper Michael Fordyce, an Ohio County Animal Control officer and a local veterinarian responded to the property and found 19 dogs and several horses, according to Hogan's criminal complaint. The veterinarian advised the officers that three of the horses, two mares and a colt, appeared to "be in bad shape" and "need(ed) help."
Hogan said that the horses appeared "skinny" and the veterinarian determined upon later examination that the animals had various medical ailments.
The veterinarian also expressed some concern about the animals' hooves.
"Just to look at a horse, I wouldn't know if they were mistreated or not," Hogan said, noting that is why the veterinarian was brought to the scene.
Officers photographed the stalls in which the horses were kept and noted piles of manure. The veterinarian told the officers that there was not enough space on the property for the horses to properly graze and get adequate exercise. Hogan was not sure of the exact acreage of the property.
The horses were taken from the property to another location where they are being cared for, Hogan said.
At the time of the investigation, none of the dogs on the property were registered with the Marshall County assessor, Hogan said, noting they are registered now.
Marshall County Administrator Betsy Frohnapfel declined to comment on the arrests, saying she did not know all the details of the matter. Frohnapfel said Thomas Rine's future as a county employee will be decided internally. Rine has been an animal control officer with the county since 1999.
For how long and in what capacity Lynell Jean Rine worked for the Ohio County Animal Shelter could not be immediately determined that Thursday.
Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Cramer, after reviewing the facts of the cases, advised Hogan he would be applying for a special prosecutor.
- The Intelligencer - Sept 16, 2005
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