Animal cruelty charges against a local horse rescue have now been dropped following the revocation of authority for the humane society police officer who filed the charges.
Crystal Davis and her son, Joseph McMillen, both of Pequea, were initially charged with 12 summary citations of animal cruelty after 10 horses were seized May 2 from A Life Saved is a Life Saved Equine Rescue at 35 Silver Mine Road.
Davis and McMillen were responsible for the care of the animals, according to previous media reports.
Susan Martin, then a humane society police officer, found the horses dirty and emaciated without hay, water or proper shelter, according to previous media reports.
Martin then filed the citations, charging Davis and McMillen.
In June, Davis’ attorney, Justin Gearty, stated his client planned to plead not guilty and would €œaggressively defend the claims of animal cruelty.€
The horses were returned to Davis and McMillen on July 29.
The charges were withdrawn on Wednesday, according to court dockets.
“My family and I are happy to have our horses home. We are going to move forward with life and simply love our horses. We also want to thank everyone who believed in us and stood behind us through this,” Davis said in an online message to LNP Friday.
Gearty did not immediately return requests for comment.
Martin, the executive director of the Lancaster County SPCA, relinquished her role as a humane society police officer on Aug. 17, six days after district attorney Craig Stedman held a press conference announcing he was filing a petition to suspend her powers as an officer.
A humane society police officer is an officer of the law, who must be employed by a nonprofit agency and appointed by a judge. They have powers of arrest as it pertains to animal cruelty laws.
Martin’s ability to act in that capacity was called into question following a decision to not pursue charges of a puppy known as Libre, a Boston Terrier suffering from demodectic mange, who was rescued July 4 in Quarryville.
In Davis’ case, Martin declined comment Friday.
The district attorney’s office limited its comments to one statement, provided via email:
€œMs. Martin was an integral part of this case, being the affiant who filed charges and did the investigation. Considering her no longer having authority as an officer, we couldnt progress with the case as it was. We did our own evaluation of the evidence and facts involved prior to the charges being withdrawn.€
The district attorney’s office declined to further elaborate on the results of its own investigation.