Horse rescue operator convicted of three counts of animal cruelty

By Will Sanders

April 23, 2014

By Will E Sanders

TROY — A municipal court jury returned three guilty verdicts of animal cruelty against a Tipp City woman this week who operated a now defunct animal rescue.

Shula Woodworth, 46, was found guilty on three animal cruelty counts, but the jury of six men and three women found her not guilty on two other cruelty charges during their 90-minute deliberations.

Woodworth once ran Serenity Horse Rescue, 5275 State Route 201, but more than 100 animals were seized from the 25-acre ranch Feb. 24, 2013, after a six-month investigation by the Miami County Humane Society was initiated.

Woodworth was convicted of mistreating and neglecting horses on the farm and expert testimony in the case stated she did not provide adequate food or water to the animals. Other animals located at the rescue were alpacas, a calf and a multitude of other animals, including pigs, goats and rabbits.

Some of the horses were fed soybean stalks and others were so malnourished they ate bark off of trees. In addition, some of the animals were so weak they could not stand, testified Amanda Hartwick, a veterinarian who specializes in large animals, Monday.

Sharon Karns, an agent with the county’s humane society, testified she first visited Serenity in August of 2012 after receiving several complaints about the welfare of the animals and made more than a dozen follow up visits to check on the livestock and the living conditions of the animals.

Karns said Woodworth told her it was “financially difficult” to take care of the horses. She further testified that Woodworth told her she was “doing the best she could,” but Karns’ main concern was that Woodworth claimed she didn’t have the money to take care of the animals, but she “kept buying more animals.”

A sentencing hearing has yet to be set for Woodworth.

Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.