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Newlin Township Ordinance Passes, Equestrians Mull Options
by Suzanne Bush - November 2014

Was it the end of the controversy, or the beginning of a new chapter?  When the Newlin Township (Chester County) Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on October 13 to adopt an ordinance regulating commercial equine operations, the jam-packed room erupted in a chorus of “Shame on you! Shame!” The ordinance requires any commercial equine facility to have a minimum of three acres for the first horse on the property and two acres for each additional horse (the three and two rule). Further, any facility hosting an event, such as a horse show, must provide off-street parking; and outdoor commercial activities will be limited to daylight hours.

The ordinance applies to all equine facilities, except private farms not providing lessons, boarding or training. It also does not apply to Pony Club or the Cheshire Hunt, both of which were operating in the area prior to 1980. A heated debate has consumed the equine community and its supporters for months now, since the supervisors began public discussion of the ordinance.

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Man Who Shot Horse Sentenced to Prison
November 2014

A Lancaster County man who shot a horse pulling an Amish buggy last November pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one to two years in prison followed by four years’ probation.

Timothy Antonio Diggs, Jr. of Ronks, PA pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to animals, five counts of reckless endangerment and one count of propulsion of missiles.

In separate charges, he also pleaded guilty to four counts of receiving stolen property, one count of reckless endangerment, for shooting a rifle close to residences near his home, and one count of altering or destructing a vehicle identification number. After developing Diggs as a suspect in the horse shooting, East Lampeter Township police searched his home and found two stolen rifles and a stolen motorcycle. One of the guns was the firearm used to shoot the horse as a car in which Diggs was a passenger passed it.

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In First US Competition,
Swiss Rider Wins Harrisburg Grand Prix
November 2014

The excitement was palpable at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show as crowds filed into the arena to watch the star-studded field of top international riders, including Olympic and World Champions, compete in the $85,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix de Penn National, a qualifying competition for the 2015 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas.

In his first competition in the US, Olympic silver medalist Beat Mandli of Switzerland proved unbeatable aboard Antares F, with the only double clear round of the field of 32 riders. Mandli also won the Open Jumper Championship and the Open Jumper Leading Rider Award.

Mandli was impressed with the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the facilities. “It's a great facility and it's super for the horses."

A total of five riders made it through to the seven fence jump-off. Todd Minikus, who has competed in seven FEI World Cup Jumping Finals, dropped a rail with Quality Girl in the fastest time to finish in second place. Irish Olympian Kevin Babington and Shorapur also dropped a rail but crossed the timers a little slower to take third place. Margie Engle and Indigo were also prey to a rail, finishing in fourth place, while Callan Solem and VDL Wizard had two rails down for fifth place.

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Controversial Horse Rescue Group Shuts Down
by Suzanne Bush - November 2014

Another Chance 4 Horses, the Bernville, Pennsylvania horse rescue/adoption organization, has apparently closed the barn door. The FBI raided the non-profit’s offices on April 30, 2013. Christy Sheidy, the organization’s owner, said at the time that the issue was health certificates for horses in her care. However, the FBI does not investigate equine health certificates. They investigate crimes ranging from terrorism and counterintelligence, to white collar crime, civil rights violations, violent crime and major theft.

The FBI would not comment on exactly why they raided Another Chance 4 Horses, and Sheidy has not commented. But the search warrant issued by U. S. District Court Judge Henry Perkin in Allentown indicated that investigators were looking for evidence of wire fraud and other criminal acts. Subsequently, FBI investigators reached out to individuals who might have firsthand information about possible wrongdoing at the organization.

In August of 2013, Pennsylvania’s Department of State ordered the organization to cease and desist from soliciting contributions in Pennsylvania. According to the order from the office of Carol Aichele, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Another Chance 4 Horses had failed to provide the state with required information about its operations, and was not registered with the department’s Bureau of Charitable Organizations.

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Look what’s coming up in the Pennsylvania Equestrian December 2014
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