Clarion Township man pleads guilty in animal cruelty case

CLARION – A Clarion Township man pleaded guilty Monday to five summary counts of cruelty to animals in connection with an incident in which five horses were euthanized due to poor health.

Clarion County sheriff Rex Munsee filed the counts May 5 against Ralph E. Smail, 65, of Corsica.

Smail was ordered to pay $546.50 in fines and court costs.

Six horses on the farm were surrendered to an animal rescue agency out of Cochranton.

Three additional horses remain on the farm. Those horses were checked by a veterinarian and determined to be in acceptable health.

The care and health of those horses will continue to be monitored by authorities.

Munsee said state law doesn’t have a specific section for mistreatment of horses, and misdemeanor charges can only be filed on alleged second offenses.

The Pennsylvania Crimes Code says the fine upon conviction for the offense ranges from $50 to $750.