Horse owner gets 42 days in jail for animal cruelty

An Oak Harbor woman learned her fate Friday after being found guilty of neglecting dozens of horses to the point of starvation.

Robin Vess, 55, was sentenced to 42 days in jail, one for each horse, and a fine of $8,711.87 in connection with 42 counts of animal cruelty. She also received five years on probation and is required to participate in the court's mental health program.

Dozens of horses were taken by the Arabian Rescue Mission in January from Vess' farm near Oak Harbor. Vess' attorney has said she was depressed and lacked resources to care for the animals. Vess also claimed that she reached out to the Ottawa County Human Society, asking for help as she was financially unable to care for the horses. She contends the Ottawa County Humane Society did not respond to her calls for assistance.

As part of her sentence, Vess is prohibited from possessing or owning any horses.

Sentencing was handed down Friday in Ottawa County Municipal Court by Judge Frederick C. Hany.