Police: Animal abuse case ‘one of worst’ in Lorain County

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GRAFTON TWP., Ohio -- Two men stand accused in what is being described as one of the worst animal abuse cases in Lorain County.

An anonymous tip about neglect of a horse led authorities to a barn on Route 303 in Grafton Township Friday. Lorain County Humane Officer Denise Willis said they were sickened by what they found.

"We got back by the barn, and the smell and the flies were deplorable. We went to look at the horse, two looked OK, and two looked real good. One was very emaciated -- hair loss, skinny, bony, flies all over it," said Willis.

Two men there claimed to be the caretakers of the property and the animals.

"They said the horse had got sick in the winter and they had not taken it to a vet. So, this horse has been like this for a while. This didn't happen in a few weeks or a month,” said Willis.

On another part of the property, authorities found animal carcasses piled on top of each other.

"And, when he went into this fenced-in area, he started moving bags, and in the bags were bones and decaying animals, lots of them, lots of them. I couldn't even tell you how many,” she said.

While it is not clear who actually owns the farm animals, Greg Willey, Executive Director of the Friendship APL said the law is clear when it comes to the person responsible for their care.

"If an owner falls out of the picture, you don't get to just stop feeding the animals. That's not a choice. You have to continue to care for them,” Willis said.

Mahmoud Abukhalil, 41, and Richard Newton, 49, have both been charged with animal cruelty and obstructing official business. They are to be arraigned Monday.

The five horses found are being fostered through the Friendship Animal Protective League of Lorain County.

Depending on what happens with the court case, they could go up for adoption.

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