Nearly seven hours of testimony boiled down to a judge’s decision on whether a Carbon County veterinarian had a “duty of care” for horses kept on a Lower Towamensing Township farm he owns but doesn’t live at.

Dr. Clyde “Renny” Shoop was found guilty on 10 of 11 counts of animal cruelty at the conclusion of a summary trial in front of Magisterial District Judge William Kissner.

Shoop, who entered the building with a dog Tuesday, faces $5,750 in fines and restitution that will likely total around $17,000 or $18,000.

The guilty counts included the neglect of eight horses, a pig and a calf.

Earlier in the day, Shoop’s ex-wife Kim pleaded guilty to cruelty of one of the horses and a turkey. She owes $2,140.78 in fines, court costs and restitution.

Clyde operates Poco West Equine Animal Services in Jim Thorpe.

The Pennsylvania State Board of Veterinary Medicine has temporarily suspended his license.

Duty of care in question

A divorce decree in 2000 showed Kim was able to live on the Sunny Rest Road property for 15 years until September 2015. She was still living there with son Brad and friend Nancy Redcay when charges were filed.

“Dr. Shoop did not live at the property, but he owned the property, was not kept from the property and went on the property numerous times over the years,” said Carbon County Assistant District Attorney Brian Gazo.

“He saw these animals in distress and you can’t just turn a blind eye to that. It’s unconscionable that a veterinarian was on that property several times and continued to overlook the problem due to a marital problem.”

Shoop only admitted to owning one of the horses on the property, and that horse was not one of the nine the prosecution argued was neglected.

Defense attorney Brett Riegel contended that Shoop was not obligated to care for the animals merely because he owned the property or was a veterinarian.

“If an off-duty police officer sees a crime happening, he’s not obligated to do anything about it,” Riegel said after the trial. “He may choose to, but he’s not obligated. That is the comparison here.”

Condition of animals

On Jan. 22, police searched the property, and found nine of the 16 horses in critical condition.

Five of the most critically injured horses — one adult male, one adult female, one juvenile female and two juvenile males — were taken from the property, according to court documents.

Those five were taken to a veterinarian in the Quakertown area. Only three of the five survived, with two having to be euthanized, according to Last Chance Ranch in Quakertown, which assisted in the rescue.

They also found at least five dead horses — two hidden beneath wooden pallets, one beneath a burned mattress, and two in a pit with the remains of other burned animals.

On Jan. 26, officials from the Last Chance Ranch returned to the property and took seven more horses. One of those had to be euthanized.

Four remaining horses were removed Feb. 1.

Trooper Erin Cawley, the arresting officer, testified Tuesday that ribs were discernible on many of the horses and that there was no food or hay at the farm.

“Water troughs were frozen,” she added, “and had to be smashed with a sledgehammer. The pig was malnourished. Its testicles had shriveled up and were not present until a few days later. The calf was thin and its ribs were also discernible.”

By the time Dr. Justin Cunfer of Blue Mountain Veterinary Clinic saw the pig and calf one week after they were seized, he said they were in much better condition.

No malnutrition was noticed and the pig never got a blood test for dehydration, he said.

“The only thing I noticed on the calf was some swelling on its joints,” Cunfer said.

Neighbors noticed trouble

Two neighbors, Arley Kemmerer and Anne Messick said they had spotted dead or injured horses on the Shoop property and contacted Kim about it.

In the fall of 2012, Kemmerer saw a horse on the ground struggling to get up.

“I went to tell Kim about it and she was not happy I was there,” Kemmerer testified. “In the fall of 2013, I saw a dead horse while walking my dog and called Dr. Shoop, and he said he would let Kim know to go get it.”

For the past six months, she said horses were routinely getting onto her property to eat grass.

On Dec. 24, 2015, Messick saw a dead horse and told another neighbor, who called Kim.

“I heard the conversation and Kim was very angry, asking who was trespassing,” Messick said. “She went into a tirade.”

Carbon County humane society officer Donna Crum said she had received calls about the Shoop property as far back as 2012 from a Sunny Rest resident.

“Dr. Shoop told me he had to euthanize one of the horses and that he would handle the situation,” Crum said. “I trusted him because he was a professional who had an expert opinion that I figured superseded mine.”

Crum said over time she continued to get calls about the property and that Kim had given her permission to go on the land around the time the state police got their search warrant.

Wife and son testify

Brad, the 21-year-old son of Clyde and Kim, testified that he was often caught in the middle of his parents’ squabbles.

“It probably would not have been OK for my dad to feed her horses,” he said. “She is not a very cooperative person.”

Cawley also said Brad told her during the investigation that he told his father 50-100 times about issues at the farm and that he needed to “do something about it.”

Kim, meanwhile, only admitted to ownership of one of the horses and said a fractured tailbone left her unable to tend to the animals.

“I left many messages for him (Shoop) at his office, but he never answered my calls,” Kim said.

Appeal coming

Clyde told Kissner following the verdict that he did intend to appeal.

According to Gazo, the next step would be a hearing at the Court of Common Pleas level.