DUBOIS – A DuBois couple accused of neglecting a horse that died waived their rights to preliminary hearings Friday during centralized court.
Joseph Clyde Daniel Dush, 64, and Brenda Marie Dush, 49, were charged with a felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals and neglect of animal by Sandy Township police. Both are free on $10,000, unsecured bail.
The charges stem from an incident on Jan. 22 when police received a report about a deceased horse at the Dush’s home.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, when police arrived they saw a horse lying on the ground next to a round bale of hay to the rear of the residence.
They spoke with Dush, who admitted there was a dead horse on his property that belonged to his wife.
Dush took the officers to where the horse was lying and they confirmed it was deceased.
It was located in what was once a fenced in area, but part of the fence was flat to the ground.
The bale of hay looked like it had nothing, if anything, taken from it. It still had twine wrapped around it, leaving the horse unable to eat the hay, police said.
The horse was extremely thin and the officers noted they could see its spine and ribs beneath its skin.
Dush stated that the horse was tied to a tree to restrain the animal since the fence was down.
Although there was a trough with water in it, the horse reportedly had no shelter from the wind or temperatures.
Dush reported that the animal died Jan. 19 and the last time he had seen it alive was Jan. 18.
He asked the officer for help with removing the animal since he did not have a way to deal with the corpse.
A neighbor told investigators that the horse deteriorated over time, and they saw no proof the horse had food or water sometimes for days.
An animal protection group, “One Dog at a Time,” which had received a report about the animal, offered to pay for a necropsy of the horse.
The veterinarian’s report confirmed the horse’s cause of death was emaciation due to starvation and malnutrition.
Gov. Tom Wolf signed a new animal cruelty act, known as Libre’s Law, last summer that strengthens penalties for harming animals.
This includes the possibility of felony charges for aggravated cruelty to animals that carries a sentence of up to seven years in jail and the possibility of a fine up to $15,000.