Contact Information

Press Release
Equine Placement Network, Inc.

Press Releases

Press Release Summaries 1999

No Justice For Horse In Cruelty Case

There are two different outcomes to this case according to whom you speak to at the Humane League of Lancaster County.

  1. There is an arrest warrant out for the owner. No name given. If a warrant has been issued, then charges have been filed. If charges have been filed, it is public information.
  2. The Humane League attempted to file charges of cruelty to animals, PA Section 5511, in September in New Holland, PA before District Justice Carl Good. DJ Good refused to accept the charges. (If he refused to accept the charges, then how is it possible to have an arrest warrant?)

According to sources close to the case, DJ Good refused to accept the charges because the listed owner is 94 years old. The listed owner is not the person who attends the sales. The listed owner's son is a licensed PA Dealer/Hauler. The son is seen at horse auctions, doing the loading & unloading of horses & bidding on horses. In other words, he is an agent of the owner, and he has duty of care.

The Humane League of Lancaster County has 2 years to refile the charges.

District Justice Good is no longer on the bench in New Holland after January 5, 2000.

Lancaster County Man Pays Miniscule Fine For Cruelty to Three Horses

Gap, PA- On December 8, 1999, Lorenzo Riccobono, Paradise Township, Lancaster County, PA was found guilty of one count of cruelty to animals, Section 5511 (c) regarding failure to provide food, water and shelter to 2 horses and a pony after a hearing before District Justice Stoltzfus.

Mr. Riccobono was ordered to pay $125.00 in fines and court costs. The minimum fine under PA law is $50.00. Court costs are generally $50.00 to $60.00.

The PA State Police, Troop J, Lancaster brought the charge against Mr. Riccobono.

The Humane League of Lancaster County informed Mr. Riccobono that he is required under the law to provide shelter for the remaining horses and other animals on his property.

Mr. Riccobono signed the 2 horses & pony over to the Humane League of Lancaster County. A York County horse rescue provided housing, transportation and contacted an equine veterinarian. One of the horses and the pony both had to be euthanised due to their conditions.


NJ Dealer Waives Hearing

December 22, 1999

New Holland, PA- On December 6, 1999, Mr Harker, a NJ horse dealer charged with 12 misdemeanor counts of no Coggins Tests on horses brought into PA on June 7, 1999 and 12 summary charges of no health certificates on the same 12 horses waived his preliminary hearing and entered a plea agreement with the Lancaster County District Attorneys Office before District Justice Carl Good.

Mr. Harker will appear in Lancaster County Court before Judge Georgelis for sentencing.

Under the PA Domestic Animal Act, the penalty for a misdemeanor is a mandatory $1000.00 fine and possible jail time. A conviction under the PA Domestic Animal Act is also grounds for revocation of a PA dealer/hauler permit.

It remains to be seen whether the PA Department of Agriculture will hold hearings to revoke Mr. Harker's domestic animal dealer/hauler permit.


NY Shipper Faces 38 Misdemeanor Counts of Illegal Transport

November 23, 1999

Dickinson, NY- Arlow Kiehl, Watertown, NY had a pre-trial conference on November 16, 1999 in Dickinson Town Court on 38 misdemeanor counts of the illegal transport of horses. A plea offer was extended by Broome County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Graham to Mr. Kiehl's attorney, Joel Scelsci. Mr. Kiehl faces up to $38,000 in fines and possible jail time.

Mr. Kiehl was stopped by New York State Police on I-81 northbound in the Town Of Dickinson on August 17, 1999. There were 19 horses on the double deck cattle trailer. The horses were being shipped from an auction in New Holland, PA to their final destination, a Canadian slaughterhouse. The horsemeat is for human consumption overseas.

Mr. Kiehl was charged with; 19 misdemeanor counts of Section 359, Carrying animal in a cruel manner; 13 misdemeanor counts of Sec 359a 2; 3 misdemeanor counts Section 359-a 1.(a); and 13 misdemeanor counts 359-a.1(g). The charges deal with transporting horses in a double deck trailer, protrusions inside the trailer hazardous to horses, and a lack of overhead clearance inside the trailer for the horses.

The Broome County District Attorneys Office has successfully prosecuted Mr. Kiehl and Kevin Nickerson of Nickerson Livestock in previous cases involving the illegal transport of horses. Fines of $4300.00 have been levied by judges in Broome County against Nickerson Livestock and Mr. Kiehl.

Stepped up enforcement by the New York State Police of New York's humane horse transport law in recent years has resulted in fines approaching $20,000 against 3 different shippers of slaughterbound horses. One company, Frank Carper & Sons, Cranbury, NJ, has refused to pay the $11,100 fine levied against them in 1994 by Judge Jean Strothenke in Schroon Lake, Essex County, NY.



Nodine, MI - According to news reports and the MN State Patrol, on Tuesday, October 5, 1999, James Halbaidr, 53, of Cape Vincent, N.Y., was transporting 27 horses in a tractor trailer owned by Arlow Kiehl, Watertown, NY east on MN Interstate 90 about noon. Mr. Halbaidr exited the interstate at the Nodine exit, and was unable to stop at the stop sign at Winona County Road 22, crossing the road and continuing up the entrance ramp to I-90, before rolling the tractor trailer onto it's side.

According to Trooper Steve Stromback of the MN State Patrol, the brakes are being looked at as a possible cause of the accident. According to news reports, Mr. Halbaidr and a passenger, 66-year-old Glenn Call of Philadelphia, N.Y., were taken to St. Francis Hospital in La Crosse, WI, for treatment. Mr.Call was listed the next morning in good condition, and Halbaidr was treated and released.

Nine of the twenty-seven horses being shipped from Mandan, North Dakota to MA for resale, died as a result of the accident. The accident occured on the entrance ramp to I-90, near the Nodine Truck Stop. The remaining 18 horses were transported to a local farm for treatment.


Equine Infectious Anemia Outbreak In PA

October 8, 1999

UPDATE 27 horses positive in outbreak
30 for 1999 in PA
UPDATE 11-20-99
25 horses Confirmed Positive.

22 of the 25 Positive Horses trace back to Leonard Ott, Equinunk, PA At least 18 sent to TX for slaughter, for human consumption overseas. The TX slaughterhouse is over 1500 miles away. The horses are transported in an overcrowded cattle trailer, that is boarded up, with no food, no water & no rest for 2 days.

Positive horses in Region 3 have been located in Equinunk, Starlight, Saylorsburg, Waymart, Lakewood, Beach Lake, Factoryville, Honesdale, Carbondale, Montrose.

A positive horses was also located in Lebanon County on October 28,1999.

Horses in 47 barns have been put under quarantine. Many of the horses exposed at the Harford, PA sale are testing off negative.

The PA Department of Agriculture has confirmed that 14 horses have tested positive on the Coggins Test for Equine Infectious Anemia, EIA. More horses in 3 barns are under quarantine in Wayne and Susquehanna Counties. Reportedly more barns will be placed under quarantine by the PA Department of Agriculture.This brings the total EIA positive cases in PA to 16 for 1999.

One of the positive horses from the Harford, PA horse sale ended up in New York and was euthanised and buried.

This particular horse auction's policy is to require horses to have negative Coggins Tests before sale. But, if a horse does not have a test, as in this case, blood will be drawn for a Coggins Test prior to sale. PA law does not require that horses have a negative Coggins Test prior to change of ownership, unlike the laws in NJ, NY, MD and other surrounding states. The USDA's Uniform Methods and Rules on EIA, effective January 1, 1998, approved by the American Horse Council, AHC, and the American Association of Equine Practioners, AAEP, recommends that all horses entering horse auctions or sale markets must be tested.

PA, the 6th leading horse state in the country, has yet to adopt these rules.

Prior to being consigned to the sale, it is believed that this horse had spent the summmer at a Wayne County, PA summer camp. Of the 12 horses that have been confirmed positive reactors, 2 horses are also believed to have been at a summer camp(s). According to concerned horse owners, agricultural officials have confirmed that the Belgian was traced back through a horse auction in Lancaster County, PA in May 1999. The horse originated from within PA.

Horses transported within the state of PA are not required by law to have a negative Coggins Test. In NY state, as in some other states, law does require horses transported within the state on a public highway to have a negative Coggins Test.



September 29, 1999

New Holland, PA- PA State Police investigated an incident of cruelty to animals at the New Holland Sales Stables on Monday, September 27, 1999.

John H. Schuffler, Valdese, NC and Ernest S. Shaw, Troy, NC were cited under the PA Crimes Code for cruelty to animals and Agriculural violations. Both men transported disabled horses to the New Holland Sales Stables and offerered the horses for sale. Both horses were visibly disabled. Neither of the horses had the required health certificates or Coggins Test as required by PA law.

John H. Schuffler, Valdese, NC and Ernest S. Shaw, Troy, NC were taken before Magistrate Wilwerth and pled guilty to all charges, paying $300 each in fines, in addition to court costs.

Both horses were placed with a horse rescue organization in York County. An equine veterinarian examined both horses. Both horses were euthanised due to their disabling injuries.

In addition, 20 traffic citations and 30 warnings were issued for equipment related violations on Commercial vehicles.



September 20, 1999

Lancaster, PA- David Carper, a driver for his father, Frank Carper,Cranbury, NJ was fined $600.00 plus court costs for transporting 3 horses into PA without the required Coggins Test for Equine Infectious Anemia.

Mr. Carper was cited by the PA State Police on April 5, 1999 in New Holland, PA for Motor Vehicle & Agriculture Code violations. In addition, his tractor trailer was put out of service due to equipment violations.

Mr. Carper was found guilty by District Magistrate Carl Good when he failed to appear for his hearing in May 1999. Mr. Carper appealed his convictions on the Agriculture Code violations, i.e.; Coggins Tests. Lancaster County Assistant District Attorney Brian Chudzik prosecuted the case in Lancaster County Court on September 20, 1999. Mr. Carper withdrew his appeal and was fined $600.00 plus court costs.

David Carper, and the company he drives for, Frank Carper & Sons, was convicted in Essex County, NY in April 1994 of the illegal transport of horses and fined $11,100 by Schroon Town Justice Jean Strothenke . The Carper's have yet to pay the fine in a case that became known as the "Horse Popsicle Case" after Essex County ADA Debra Whitson, now with the NY Attorney General's Office referred to the frost covered horses as horse popsicles.

The PA Dept. of Agriculture, PDA, issued a permit to the Carpers to deal and haul domestic animals in PA, even after being made aware of their refusal to pay their fine to Essex County, NY by ADA Whitson. This most recent conviction is grounds for revocation of that permit.



New Holland, PA -Another NJ horse dealer, Mr. Harker, was arrested by summons on 12 misdemeanor charges for allegedly transporting horses into PA without the required Coggins Tests on June 7, 1999. The PA State Police, stopped the dealer in New Holland, Lancaster County. The dealer is also facing other Agriculture Code violations. A preliminary hearing is upcoming in New Holland, PA.


Equine Placement Network OPPOSES PA HB 590

August 4, 1999

Friedensburg, PA - The Equine Placement Network, EPN, is opposing PA HB 590, the horse transport bill, introduced by Representative Jim Lynch, Warren County.

The EPN has been working for passage of legislation in PA that will insure the safe and humane transport of horses to slaughter since 1996. The EPN is calling for an outright ban of double deck cattle trailers for the transport of horses and other safety standards for trailers used to transport horses to slaughter for human consumption overseas. The EPN has also called for a ban of the shipment of pregnant mares, foals and sick and injured horses to slaughter.

As currently drafted the EPN believes HB 590 will not be enforceable and will be nothing more than a publicity victory. Vehicle standards must apply to all horses, not just slaughter bound. Horse trailers already exceed these standards. The definition of "Intermediate Handler" must be included, otherwise the killer buyers will circumvent the law, and legitimate horse owners could be affected. The EPN has called for these changes to be made to the horse transport legislation since it was first introduced in 1997. The changes have not been made and the EPN now believes it is time to oppose this legislation instead of allowing passage of a bad bill.

Pennsylvania is home to the largest weekly horse auction east of the Mississippi averaging 200 to 250 horses per week with a large number of horses purchased by agents for foreign owned horse slaughterhouses located in Canada, Texas and Illinois. The horses are slaughtered for human consumption overseas in Europe and Japan. Horses purchased for slaughter are often transported to slaughter in trailers designed to transport cattle and hogs and which do not meet equine industry standards for vehicles used to transport horses. This, in conjunction with overcrowding and a lack of segregation often cause injury and even death to the horses being transported. The lack of food, water and rest contribute to the arduous journey, making it especially inhumane for blind, sick, injured, and/or the very young or the very old. Being that enforcement of this legislation is best accomplished at the point of loading, it is imperative that Pennsylvania enact legislation that will ensure that all horses, no matter what their final destination, are transported using vehicles and methods that meet equine industry standards. Blind, sick, and injured horses should not be forced to endure more suffering so their owner can put a few dollars in their pocket. Irresponsible breeders should not profit from their lack of responsibility by sending a pregnant mare, or foal to slaughter.

Members of the Equine Placement Network have testified at hearings on this legislation and have also spoken at Equitana on the issue of the transportation of horses to slaughter. The Equine Placement Network looks forward to supporting effective legislation that will insure the safe and humane transportation of all horses, no matter what their final destination.


New York Shipper Pays Another Fine

June 16, 1999

Arlene Nickerson, wife of Donald Nickerson, owner of Nickerson Livestock, Bainbridge, NY pled guilty & paid a fine for driving without the required CDL, Commercial Divers License. Mrs Nickerson was cited on Monday April 12, 1999 by the PA State Police in Lancaster County. Mrs Nickerson was transporting horses from a Lancaster County PA horse auction.

Mrs. Nickerson was also cited later the same day by New York State Police on I-81 for the same offense.


Horse Transport Bill Is Voted Out of Commitee

June 16, 1999

PA HB 590, the Horse Transport Bill, introduced by Rep Lynch, Warren County was voted out of the PA House Judiciary Committee on June 15, 1999 20- 4. The Farm Bureau opposed the legislation. The bill is now in the Rules Committtee. The Equine Placement Network is still calling for 2 ammendments;

  1. The trailer safety standards must apply to all horses, not just slaughterbound. Enforcement will be easier. Horse trailers already exceed these standards.

  2. The definition of intermediate handler must be added so as not to affect the legitimate transportation of pregnant mares, or the legitimate transportation of sick or injured horses for medical care.


Proposed Regulations for the
Commercial Transportation of Horses To Slaughter

June 9, 1999

The proposed regulations for the Commercial Transportation of Horses To Slaughter Act have been published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register is online. The public comment period is until July 19, 1999.

The proposed regulations are for the Commercial Transportation of Horses to Slaughter Act which passed in 1996. The Act stated that the

"Secretary of Ag may issue guidelines to regulate the transportation of horses to slaughter..."

Many people mistakenly believed that when the law passed the horses were protected. Not so. The law simply stated that the Secretary of Ag had the authority to create guidelines. The proposed regulations are these guidelines. The words "safe" and "humane" do NOT exist in the law.

The original intent of this law was to ban the use of double deck cattle trailers, ban the shipment of pregnant mares and foals to slaughter, ban the shipment of sick & injured horses by having a veterinarian inspect the horses, require ceiling height of no less than 6'6", require secure footing & safe interiors, water, food & rest no less than every 12 hours, limit the number of horses on a trailer, segregate horses by size & sex.

The proposed regulations will allow the following;

  1. Double deck cattle trailers will continue to be legal for another 5 years. These trailers can have ceiling heights as low as 5'7". Commercial horse trailers are no lower than 6'6", with most being 7' to 8' tall. Using a conservative number of 200 horses in a double deck a week, that is 10,400 horses a year, or 52,000 horses over the next 5 years that will continue to be forced to ride in trailers designed for cattle and hogs that do not allow the horses to stand upright and cause head, back & neck injuries.

  2. It will be legal to ship horses 28 hours with no water, no food, & no rest. Equine industry transport standards are water every 4-6 hours depending on the weather. Equine husbandry practices recommend water no _less_ than every 12 hours. Horses are transported in boarded up trailers during the summer when outside temperatures are exceeding 90 degrees. With 40 - 45 horses in a trailer it is impossible for these horses to receive enough ventilation. Horse industry standard for the same size trailer is 8 to 15 horses.

  3. Full term pregnant mares can be shipped to slaughter, as long as the owner/shipper, the very person who stands to benefit by shipping the mare & the person who stands to lose money if the mare is not shipped, does not believe the mare will foal during the trip. Equine veterinarians have stated that they cannot predict when a mare is going to foal.

  4. The owner/shipper, the very person identified as the person(s) inflicting the inhumane treatment to slaughter horses have been put in charge of determining whether or not a horse is fit to ship instead of a veterinarian. Considering that the owner/shipper stands to lose money if the horse does not ship, & stands to profit if the horse does ship, this is an apparent conflict of interest.

  5. Penalties will be civil, not criminal. In other words law enforcement cannot enforce. Enforcement will be at the slaughterhouse, not at auctions or feedlots prior to loading. The USDA is in charge of enforcing the regulations. The USDA does not enforce their regulations now at horse auctions.

  6. Language is performance based instead of engineering based. Performance based language makes enforcement more difficult.

The proposed regulations fly in the face of every accepted horse transportation industry practice, horse management practice & horse husbandry practice. Horses bound for slaughter are still horses, they have not shrunk in size, their behavior has not changed, their need for water has not changed. They are still alive & need to be transported in vehicles designed to transport horses & using methods designed for horses.



May 1, 1999

Kirkwood, NY- On Monday, April 12, 1999, New York State Trooper Anthony C. Comstock issued a traffic ticket to Arlene Nickerson, Bainbridge, NY for operating out of class on I-81 North, Exit 2 in the Town of Kirkwood, NY.

A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate a commercial vehicle. Mrs. Nickerson does not have the required license to operate a commercial vehicle. Mr. Donald Nickerson's CDL has been revoked by NYS.



April 7, 1999

New Holland, PA- Members of the Pennsylvania State Police Ephrata Crime Unit Troop J MCSAP Unit, Troop J SET Team, and the State Police Equestrian Unit along with the PenDot Weight Detail inspected all incoming motor carriers and trucks along with Domestic Animal Haulers to the New Holland Sales Stables in New Holland, PA on Monday April 5, 1999 for Agriculture Code violations, Vehicle Code violations and equipment violations.

Pennsylvania State Troopers served Arlow Kiehl, Watertown, NY with a warrant for his arrest inside the auction barn for failure to answer a non traffic citation issued by Pennsylvania State Police Troop J, Lancaster.

David Carper, a driver for his father, Frank Carper, Cranbury, NJ had his tractor trailer put out of service due to equipment violations. The Carpers are the same company, Frank Carper & Sons, that owes Essex County, NY $11,100 for their 1994 conviction for the illegal transportation of horses. The case was nicknamed the "Horse Popsicle Case" by the media after Assistant District Attorney, Debra Whitson now with the New York State Attorney General's Office, called the frost covered horses, "horse popsicles".

Recently, the PA Department of Agriculture issued both of these companies permits to transport domestic animals in Pennsylvania, regardless of the fact that their convictions in New York are grounds for denial of a permit in Pennsylvania.

Another Domestic Animal Hauler's vehicle was put out of service by the Pennsylvania State Police due to equipment violations. Troopers also issued 10 citations for AG-Code violations along with 20 warnings for AG Code violations, including no Coggins Tests. In addition 21 traffic citations were issued and 29 warnings for Vehicle Code violations. Two vehicles were cited for being overweight.



March 18, 1999

New Holland - Mr. and Mrs. Donald Nickerson, Bainbridge, NY paid fines totalling $2000.00 in New Holland Boro, Lancaster County, PA. The Nickersons were arrested on February 8, 1999 in New Holland, PA by Trooper Patrick J. Fetterman of the PA State Police. Mr. Nickerson was arrested for driving with a revoked Commerical Drivers License, CDL. Arlene Nickerson, his wife and the owner of the vehicle, was arrested for allowing him to operate the vehicle with a revoked license.

The PA Department of Agriculture recently issued Nickerson Livestock permits to transport domestic animals in PA. Convictions in other states are grounds for denial of permits, and the PA Dept of Ag has been made aware of the prior convictions.



February 5, 1999

Kirkwood, NY - Carlton H. Simmons, Gouverneur, NY, a driver for Arlow Kiehl, Watertown, NY, was found guilty after trial on February 3, 1999 in Kirkwood Town Court on 8 counts of transporting horses in violation of New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, Section 359-a 2. Judge Benjamin Weingartner fined Mr Simmons $800, $100 for each horse transported illegally. Mr Simmons was prosecuted by Broome County New York Senior Assistant District Attorney Marcy Cox.

In 1998 in 5 separate incidents Mr Kiehl or his drivers were charged with close to 100 counts of transporting horses illegally in New York State and fined $3300.00. Another repeat offender, Nickerson Livestock paid fines totalling $4400.00 in 1998 for the illegal transport of horses, $3000.00 of which was levied by Kirkwood Town Court Justice Weingartner.

The next time either one of these shippers is arrested the charges will be misdemeanors and the fines can range to $1000.00 per horse, per violation.

New York State continues to use its law to crack down on the cruel and inhumane transport of slaughterbound horses from Pennsylvania auctions through New York to Canadian slaughterhouses for human consumption overseas. The simplicity of New York State's law facilitates the prosecution and conviction for illegal shipment of horses, and New York State counties have seen revenue of $7700 in a 12 month period, with over $11,000 in unpaid fines on the books.