A Toledo woman accused of animal cruelty was arrested on Wednesday and released on unsecured bail Thursday.
Alice Marie McKnight, 75, was arrested on a $100,000 warrant on Wednesday and remained in custody until after her preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday.
As a condition of her release, Judge Joely Yeager is prohibiting McKnight from personally caring for any animals.
Lewis County Animal Control has seized five horses from McKnight’s property at 275 Lone Yew Road in Toledo, but there are animals still living there, according to Defense Attorney Rachel Tiller.
“You are going to need to have someone else who is caring for those,” Yeager said during McKnight’s hearing on Thursday. “Animal Control will be checking on that on a regular basis.”
Tiller informed the court that “Animal Control is more than welcome to come to the property at any time.”
McKnight reportedly told Tiller there is another woman who frequents the property and will be able to provide care for the animals Animal Control has not seized.
McKnight is accused of causing the horses at her Toledo property “unjustifiable pain” by failing to provide them necessary amenities, including shelter, sanitation and medical attention.
Many of the 42 living horses Lewis County Animal Control officers observed on the property when they executed a search warrant on March 31 were considered malnourished, according to court documents.
Of the five horses that Lewis County Animal Control seized from the property, at least two had injuries that had not been treated and one was ill. All five horses were considered emaciated.
Animal control officers found 10 horse corpses, including six foals, on the property and suspected there may be more bodies unaccounted for.
In addition to the cruelty allegedly shown toward the living animals on her property, McKnight is accused of fatally poisoning one horse with Promazine, causing it “an unnecessary amount of suffering before it died,” according to court documents.
Animal cruelty charges were filed against McKnight on April 26 and she was issued a summons to appear in Lewis County Superior Court for a May 17 hearing, which she was not present for.
Judge J. Andrew Toynbee issued a $100,000 warrant for McKnight’s arrest after she failed to appear at that hearing.
That $100,000 warrant amount was not recommended by the prosecutor’s office, according to Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher, who said Toynbee likely set the high amount “based on the severity of the damage to the animals.”
Given that McKnight has no prior criminal history and lives locally in Toledo, Meagher recommended that Yeager release McKnight on $10,000 unsecured bail.
Tiller agreed with Meagher’s recommendation.
Yeager granted the parties’ request, but added the provision prohibiting McKnight from personally caring for any animals to McKnight’s conditions of release.
If McKnight violates her conditions of release, she will be required to pay the $10,000 bail amount and be remanded into custody for the remainder of her case.