Men Accused of Maltreating Horses at Ohio Fairgrounds

A group of men have been charged in connection to two maltreated horses found residing in rented stalls at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Ohio.

Tim Fowler, president of the Cuyahoga County Agricultural Society, said the agricultural society manages the buildings at the fairgrounds and leases stalls to owners who reside in urban areas in or near Berea. Between 80 and 100 horses reside there, and owners either care for the animals themselves or arrange for the fairgrounds' farm manager to provide care. Either way, all stall leases include stipulations that owners will provide appropriate care for their animals, he said.

In late January, a pair of horses were removed from their rented stalls in a stable on the fairgrounds. Fowler said the allegedly maltreated horses were initially relocated to another building at the fairgrounds before the Cleveland Animal Protection League (APL) transported them to an undisclosed location while it investigated cruelty allegations connected to the horses.

Also in late January the horses' owner, Double D Stables, was evicted from the fairgrounds, Fowler said.

No one from Double D Stables was available for comment.

Following the APL investigation, five men who were allegedly employed by Double D Stables at the time of the incident were charged in connection with the case. Berea Municipal Court Records indicate that James Barrett, Marcus Barrett, Gregory Davidson, and Daryle Foxx were each charged with four counts of animal cruelty, while Honester Davidson was charged with one animal cruelty count.

On March 17, all five men appeared in Berea Municipal Court and pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

None of the men or their defense attorneys Thomas Kraus and Ron Papalardo were available for comment.

Jeff Holland, who represents the APL in the case, said that he has “good” evidence to present in the case but declined further comment.

A trial in the case is slated for May 12.

Meanwhile, Fowler said the agricultural society has taken steps to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

“We're making changes to put stronger language in (stall) leases, and meeting with lease holders twice a year instead of just once,” Fowler said.

The new rules will also make it possible for state and local animal welfare authorities to conduct inspections of leased stalls “without notice,” Fowler said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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