|Who, age||What||Where||When||Last Known Address|
|Thames "Tim" Osborne||20 animals removed from New Hope Farm, 2 dogs, horses found dead||
New Paris, IN
|February 17, 2009|
|Type of Crime||Other Crimes||#/Type of animal(s) involved||Case Status||Next Court Date /Courthouse|
|6 horses, 7 dogs, 8 cats||Convicted|
The Elkhart County Humane Society recently removed more than 20 animals from a facility just south of Goshen.
After receiving several complaints about New Hope Farms, investigators removed six horses, seven dogs and eight cats after finding a dead horse, bones of other horses and two dead dogs.
Photo's courtesy of WSBT
The Humane Society is trying to get to the bottom of what was going on there. “I'm at a loss where I don't even know what to do right now,” said Candy Ecklebarger.
Ecklebarger has a definite interest in the situation at New Hope Farms. She lost her horse barn in a tornado in 2007. With no shelter for them, she worked out an arrangement to keep her three horses there. She thought they were being taken care of properly.
"I had somebody come to my house and tell me that my horses were no longer at New Hope Farms,” she told WSBT News.
Her horses and several others were removed by the county humane society. They're being kept at an undisclosed location.
In addition to the horses, humane society employees also found seven dogs and eight cats in squalid conditions.
"The dogs were living inside of a barn that was in filthy conditions, filled with dog feces and horse feces, and nothing but mud,” explained humane society employee Jeff Wogoman. “Cats were living inside of a barn, that were also in horrible, messy filthy conditions.”
"Why people do what they do, I really don't know. I don't understand that concept, because I can't think that way,” added Humane Society Director Anne Reel. “Our focus has to be on trying to do what's best for the animals, no matter what the situation is."
Candy Ecklebarger says she is not absolutely sure her three horses were at New Hope Farm. She was recently told that some other horses were being kept at another location.
Officials would like community members who have recently boarded their animals at New Hope Farms to call the Humane Society at (574) 848-4225 if they are missing a horse or other animals. Owners must show proof of ownership to reclaim their animals.
The Humane Society has an immediate need for donations to help offset the medical conditions of the neglected animals. If the animals are not claimed, they will be evaluated for adoption within 10 days.
Update 2/19/09: Anne Reel, Humane Society director, said the animals have been abandoned on the farm. The Humane Society, she said, had received “a couple of complaints,” which is why the organization went to the farm, described as a rescue organization for horses.
The owners of the animal farm have not been present, said Reel, who added there are other people at the farm but they have nothing to do with the shelter, just south of Goshen.
Reel said Humane Society workers might still return to the farm at 68594 County Road 19 because there “may be some chickens and additional cats in the barn.”
The horse died almost two months ago, and its owner filed a police report with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department.
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health investigated the case.
The dogs had likely been dead for a few weeks, Reel said, and a veterinarian was called in to review the carcasses.
Authorities are trying to determine ownership of the horses and whether anyone owned the dogs and cats there.
The farm was opened in 2004 by six people to nurture abused or neglected horses.
It is unclear where the six men are now, although Reel said the animal rescue portion of the farm has been abandoned.
Monthly expenses for the farm reached up to $2,000 in food, veterinarian bills and housing, which sparked fundraiser's in 2005.
New Hope Farm received more media attention in 2005 when the six men tried to nurse an abused horse, Amber, back to health. Amber died after three weeks of care.
Even with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals backing the case, the Elkhart County prosecutor’s office did not file charges against the owners of the horse before it was adopted by New Hope Farm.
Update 2/11/10: Osborne pleaded guilty to six counts of animal cruelty.
Tim Osborne now faces up to a year in prison. A judge will sentence him next month. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped 14 other animal cruelty charges.
Investigators say many of the animals were abandoned, without proper food, water and shelter. They also found two dead dogs, a dead horse and horse bones.
Update 4/1/10: Thames Osborne, who owned New Hope Farms, pleaded guilty.
A judge suspended jail time for Osborne and sentenced him to one year probation, 40 hours of community service, and ordered him to pay restitution.