CLEARFIELD — Brenda Marie Dush, 50, of DuBois, was sent to prison after she pleaded guilty for starving a horse to death.
Dush pled guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals and neglect of animals and was sentenced Tuesday by President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to serve nine months to two years in the Clearfield County Jail plus three years consecutive probation. He also fined her $300 plus court costs.
She was also ordered to pay $98.50 in restitution to One Dog at a Time — a volunteer animal rescue organization — and is prohibited from owning any animals.
Kari Coble of One Dog at A Time testified that Dush kept the horse “Cocoa” tied to a tree outside in the elements without adequate food or water. The horse resorted to eating the bark on the tree it was tied to because it was so hungry.
An autopsy performed at Penn State University found the horse had 0 percent body fat when it died and it was the worst case of starvation they had seen.
She also said Sandy Township Police have tried for years to get her to adequately care for the horse and at one point someone offered to purchase the horse from her, but she refused to sell.
She said there is a church nearby and residents and parishioners have long complained about the starving horse on Dush’s property.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Jan. 22, 2018, Sandy Township Police responded to 290 Kilmer Rd. and found the emaciated horse deceased on the property.
The horse was sent to Penn State University and Associate Professor Jenny S. Fisher, VMD, of the Penn State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory determined the horse died of emaciation due to malnutrition because of underfeeding and starvation.
Dush appeared at the hearing without an attorney and, despite pleading guilty to the charges, she denied starving the horse.
“I could never hurt an animal,” she said.