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State v. Mangold

December 5, 2008


Criminal Appeal from the Portage County Municipal Court, Ravenna Division, Case No. R 2007 CRB 568. Judgment: Affirmed.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cynthia Westcott Rice, J.


{¶1} Appellant, Howard C. Mangold, appeals his conviction following a jury trial in the Portage County Municipal Court, Ravenna Division, of cruelty to animals. Appellant challenges the credentials of the humane officer and the officer's seizure of his cows. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

{¶2} On March 9, 2007, appellant was charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals, misdemeanors of the second degree, in violation of R.C. 959.13(A)(1), each count alleging that he "deprive[d an animal] of necessary sustenance."

{¶3} Subsequently, the state moved to dismiss counts seven through 13, and a jury trial proceeded on counts one through six on November 7, 2007 and November 8, 2007. Prior to trial, appellant discharged the public defender assigned to represent him. At a hearing held on November 6, 2007, appellant agreed to the trial court's appointment of counsel to assist him in his defense as an advisor.

{¶4} Jennifer Sanderson, Humane Officer for the Portage County Animal Protective League ("APL"), testified she has successfully completed the state-required course of study to be a humane officer and is certified by the State of Ohio to hold this position. She has also had experience with livestock and, specifically, in determining whether they are malnourished.

{¶5} Off. Sanderson testified that on January 22, 2007, the APL received a citizen complaint that there were cows on the property located at the corner of Basset and Industry Roads that appeared very thin. Two days later, on January 24, 2007, she went to the property, which is located at 2417 Industry Road in Randolph Township, to observe the cows. She obtained permission from Jack Harvey, the next door neighbor, to walk on his property to observe the cows. Mr. Harvey told her he had not seen anyone care for the cows for some time.

{¶6} On that day it was windy and cold. The temperature was about 20 degrees and there were a few inches of snow on the ground. From Mr. Harvey's property, Off. Sanderson saw eight cows outside a barn located on the property, which, she said, were too thin. Their back bones and hip bones were too prominent and there were indentations on their backs where muscle or fat should be. There were no doors on the barn and she also saw one or two cows inside.

{¶7} There were no signs of hay or feed in the field for the cows. The only water trough in the field was filled with snow and it did not appear that any fresh water was available to the cows.

{¶8} While at the property, Off. Sanderson spoke with appellant's son David Mangold who lives on the property. He told her that he owns the property, but that the cows belong to appellant who uses the property to keep them.

{¶9} On the following day, January 25, 2007, Off. Sanderson called Dr. Randall Alger, a local veterinarian, and asked him to meet her at the property to observe the cows and give her his opinion about their condition. Later that day Dr. Alger met Off. Sanderson. She spoke with David Mangold again and asked for permission to go on his property with the doctor to observe the cows closer. Mr. Mangold refused and told her she was not allowed on his property. She and Dr. Alger observed the cows from Mr. Harvey's property.

{¶10} Thereafter, Ms. Sanderson spoke to a detective in the Portage County Sheriff's Office about obtaining a search warrant for the Mangold property and cows. They conferred with a judge, who signed a search warrant. On February 2, 2007, Detective Edward Kennedy of the Sheriff's Office executed the warrant with Off. Sanderson and Dr. Alger present. Det. Kennedy went to the house to serve the warrant, but no one answered so he posted it on the door. Two other detectives secured the area.

{¶11} Detective Kennedy climbed the fence, which was around the barn, because there was a padlock on the gate. He, along with Off. Sanderson and Dr. Alger, then went into the barn to observe the conditions in which the cattle were living. They saw a goat chained to a stall with a bucket of frozen water containing only a few grains of corn. There was a metal gravity food dispenser, which was essentially empty and out of reach of the cows. The floor of the barn was completely covered in cow feces, which had been left to accumulate over an extended period. There was no hay on the floor and no water available. There was no dry bedding in the barn for the cows. There was no hay or grain to eat in the stalls.

{¶12} Ms. Sanderson saw some cows that were thinner than the ones she had previously seen in the field. They were in very poor condition. Their coats were matted and their back bones, hip bones, and ribs were protruding. The cows' legs were caked in manure. They had open wounds and hair loss on their backs.

{¶13} The officers found a dead calf in a shed near the barn. They also found a dead calf in the field. Both were very young and frozen solid.

{¶14} Off. Sanderson testified that, in her opinion, appellant's cows had been mistreated or neglected. The detectives removed 11 cows and the two dead calves, and the cows were taken to foster homes.

{¶15} Jack Harvey, David Mangold's next door neighbor, testified he is retired and has lived next door to the property for seven years. He is usually home all day and keeps an eye on the happenings in the area. The APL had recently left a card for him asking him to call. When he called, the APL representative asked him if appellant's cows were being cared for, and he said he had not seen anyone caring for them for two weeks. Mr. Harvey testified that in that two-week period, appellant's cows were constantly bawling and looked and acted like they needed to be fed.

{¶16} Randall Alger, D.V.M., testified he has been a veterinarian licensed to practice in Ohio since 1984. He has a practice in Mantua, Ohio, and regularly treats horses, cattle, and sheep. From time to time, the APL consults with him regarding the condition and treatment of livestock. He said that on January 25, 2007, Off. Sanderson called and asked him to observe appellant's cattle. When he went out to meet her, it was snowing and the pasture was frozen. From the neighbor's property, he saw a group of cattle outside that were thinner than normal cattle. They had mud and manure stuck on their legs up to their knees. There was no hay, feed, or water available. The water troughs they could see were frozen solid.

{¶17} Dr. Alger testified that veterinarians commonly use a body condition scoring system for cattle, which rates them from one to nine, according to how much body fat they have, with one being emaciated and in danger of dying and nine being fat. All the cows he saw were very thin, with scores ranging from two to four. He gave some of them a score of two, which means they were in poor condition and emaciated. Their ribs, spines, and hip bones were prominent. Their spines were sharp to the touch with only a small amount of tissue covering them. They were very thin and had not had any nutrition recently.

{¶18} One of the young cows he saw standing outside exhibited signs of cold stress from being exposed to the elements and chilled. Some of the cows had hair loss and were rubbing and licking open wounds on their backs and sides due to lice infestation. Dr. Alger testified these cows needed medical treatment.

{¶19} The manure Dr. Alger saw was in dry balls which is not normal in cows. This indicates they are not being given adequate water.

{¶20} Based on his observations, Dr. Alger recommended to the APL that its agents visit the farm to determine if there was food and water available to the cows and dry bedding in the barn. In cold weather cows need a dry place to lie down to keep their coats fluffed in order to keep warm. He further recommended that if there was no food, water, or dry bedding, the APL should provide care to the cattle, and, if they were unable to do so where the cows were being kept, the APL should remove the cattle to another site where care could be given. He said in that weather, if the cows had no water or food, some of them would die from exposure within days.

{¶21} On February 2, 2007, Dr. Alger went to appellant's property and met the sheriff's detectives and Off. Sanderson to execute the search warrant. It was snowy and very cold. The condition of the cattle was the same as when he last saw them, only this time they were all showing signs of cold stress. He said they saw fresh tire tracks from a truck in the snow leading to the barn and about 20 bales of hay that had been brought into the barn.

{¶22} There was room in the barn for about ten cows to lie down, but there was no dry bedding for them. There was no hay in the pens for the cows to eat. They found two dead calves. One was in a shed. It was about two weeks old and had been dead for about one week and was frozen. A second dead calf was found in the pasture. It had been born there within the last few days and was also frozen. The cow that had given birth to this dead calf was spending a lot of time with her calf.

{ΒΆ23} Dr. Alger testified they walked through the pasture and there was nothing but mud and feces on the ground. There was no hay under the snow. There was a stream on the property, but he said it would not provide sufficient water to the cattle in freezing temperatures. There were no water troughs with water in them. One water trough in the field was frozen to the point where ...

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