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Farmer faces cruelty, assault charges

Jessica Cuffman • Oct 10, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Thomas Linke, 73, of Woodville Township, was charged with assault on a police officer and obstructing official business. He’s also facing 15 additional charges of animal cruelty, Sandusky County humane officer Kelly Askins said.

Askins said she received numerous complaints about a dead goat at Linke’s farm, in the 1900 block of W. Main St., so she went there Monday to investigate. She arrived to find several animal carcasses and hundreds of animal bones in living areas housing a sheep, dozens of goats and two cattle.

“It creates unsanitary conditions for the other animals,” Askins said. “They were actually feeding the cows on top of one of the carcasses.”

Askins said she told Linke she was returning to the farm Tuesday, but Linke said he didn’t have time to meet her. With warrant in hand, Askins returned to the property Tuesday afternoon, accompanied by an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent to help process evidence.

“We got there and we got started,” Askins said. “Then his grandson showed up.”

Linke, who lives at a home in the 4600 block of County Road 16, decided to meet her after all.

“He came flying in right off of Route 20,” Askins said.

Linke drove his GMC Suburban head-on into a car attached to a horse trailer, Askins said.

The BCI agent managed to dodge the SUV by ducking behind a vehicle. In the end, Linke’s wife was the only one injured. She suffered minor injuries, Askins said.

While Sandusky County deputies arrested Linke, Askins continued her investigation, finding five carcasses in various states of decomposition and hundreds of bones littering the property. The animals’ water sources were filthy and contaminated with tires, and all the goats were underweight, Askins said.

The animals are now being fostered at volunteer farms.

“There’s going to be a lot of expense as far as vet care,” she said. “We are not well equipped to handle large animals.”

The Sandusky County Humane Society accepts financial donations to cover medical expenses, as well as material donations such as hay.

Linke appeared in Sandusky County’s Woodville Court Wednesday morning and pleaded not guilty to the assault and obstruction charges. He’ll be served the animal cruelty charges later, Askins said

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