When Huron resident Pat Votino returned home from an out-of-town trip and peered into the yard she had painstakingly landscaped, she was shocked to see a peculiar — and bitingly personal — act of vandalism.
Where about 50 trees and shrubs had once stood, Votino instead found dozens of butchered stumps. It was all that remained of years of her labor.
Votino’s Ashland Avenue property is at the end of a private road, nestled between a few other houses and the Lake Erie shoreline.
When Votino poured herself a mug of coffee and peeled back her drapes after resting from her long holiday weekend, she was shocked to see numerous Arborvitae trees, a big Blue Spruce tree, lilac bushes and various other foliage in her yard snipped off at ground level.
She later found tracks where it appeared vandals used a tarp to haul the severed limbs to the shore, where they likely dumped them into the lake.
Votino filed a police report, though catching the vandals is unlikely. Huron police Chief Robert Lippert said officers are working to follow up on it as best as they can.
Still, Votino is stumped as to why she was targeted.
Votino did mention past problems with neighbors, and said some knew she was an avid gardener. There’s likely no way to prove they or anybody else are to blame, however.
There’s simply not much evidence to work with, Lippert said.
A Huron resident of 36 years, Votino is disheartened by the act.
“I do it all myself,” Votino said of her landscaping. “All my little sickly ones that I’ve been babying, they’re gone. All the hard work is all done and over with. They’re all destroyed”
Votino said each would cost about $100 at a nursery, and she’s now awaiting estimates from her insurance company on total losses.
“This was deliberate, and this was personal,” Votino said. “I have no idea why someone would cut them down except to be mean”