No more animals for Fremont donkey abuser
Oct 21, 2012 at 5:20 AM
Virginia Secrist, who lives in Fremont, was found guilty of the charge and was ordered to surrender ownership of the 14 animals she once had on her Napoleon Road farm.
She also was barred from owning any farm animals for 10 years.
A 60-day jail sentence and $500 fine were suspended, assuming she complies with terms of probation, according to Woodville Sandusky County Court records.
Humane society officers charged Secrist for the July incident, after working with her for about a month to take better care of her farm animals, which appeared to be malnourished.
But Sandusky County animal cruelty investigator Kelley Askins got a tip on July 26 that the donkey had been dragged.
When she went to Secrist's farm to check out the tip, it was obvious that the donkey, called Henry, had been dragged and Secrist readily admitted that she had towed him for about a mile after he fell while he was hooked up to the back of her tractor.
The donkey had suffered severe injuries, road rash that left severe abrasions and flesh wounds, including a 3-inch hole in his head that left his skull exposed.
Human society officers seized all 14 animals from Secrist and placed them in foster care.
Besides Henry, Secrist had five other donkeys, three horses, one sheep and four goats.
Henry and a few of the other animals have officially been adopted, and Askins is waiting for official word from the other foster families as to whether they want to keep the rest of the animals permanently or not.
As for Secrist's sentence, Askins feels that justice truly was served.
"People have been telling me she just got a slap on the wrist. But if you lived with animals your entire life, and suddenly you can't have them anymore, that is the most severe punishment we could have dealt to her," Askins said.
As part of Secrist's sentence, she also was ordered to repay the Sandusky County Humane Society for the vet bills for the donkey, which totaled $203.
Another animal cruelty case out of Sandusky County, stemming from an August 2011 discovery that Susan Baker, 69, had 38 dogs in her Washington Township home, is still pending in the Woodville court.
Baker was charged with 38 counts of animal cruelty after police her lying unresponsive in a recliner in her home and dozens of feces covered dogs.
Her case is scheduled for another hearing in November.
Askins hopes it's the last pretrial hearing on the case. Prosecutors and Baker seem to have reached a standstill in plea negotiations.
"I've said this a million times, but hopefully this is the last one. She's going to have to plead out, or she's going to have to go to trial," Askins said.