Abused horses will not have to return to Port Clinton

Ottawa County Municipal Court Judge Fritz Hany has ruled that horses adopted by members of the Arabian Rescue Mission (A.R.M.) need not be returned to Ottawa County to be viewed by jurors as evidence in the animal abuse case against their former owner.

Ottawa County assistant prosecutor Matthew Schu wanted the horses brought to Port Clinton so that the jury could see that they were once again in good health after receiving proper care. Members of A.R.M. who adopted the horses after the Ottawa County Humane officer seized them from their former owner claimed that transporting the horses to Port Clinton would place undue stress on the horses and undue financial hardship on their new owners.

The jury will instead view pictures of their horses in their current state of health.

The horses were seized by Ottawa County Humane Officer Nancy Silva on Jan. 31 after the Humane Society had received complaints of malnourished and abused horses on Vess' Oak Harbor farm. Silva said she found two dead horses and 38 suffering from malnutrition and disease. The horses were housed at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds before being adopted by members of A.R.M.

Vess will stand trial for 42 counts of animal abuse on April 27.