Last year, a man working at a property in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, became a voice for the voiceless when he reported dozens of animals languishing in horrid conditions on the grounds.
The nameless good Samaritan told a tale of horror regarding the equine inhabitants on the farm, according to Trib Live. He said one time he was called out to shoot an ailing horse, but when he arrived, the horse was already suffering from three gunshot wounds to the face.
Another time he said he saw another ailing horse left to die without vet treatment. He was called back a short while later to move the body out next to two other horse carcasses.
In March 2021, a humane rescue officer visited the property, advertised as Reed Creek Stables or Pleasant View Farm — but what authorities found was far from pleasant.
Over 40 animals, mainly horses, were found in neglected conditions with ribs, spines and hip bones showing. Some had no food or water; others had hooves so overgrown they couldn’t move.
Reports said the animals were standing in about two feet of manure, and most had not received regular upkeep or veterinarian care for some time.
After the inspection, the owner of the property, Kelly Gebhardt, was given 48 hours to amend the situation by providing food and water, cleaning up the animals’ quarters and getting appropriate vet care.
Only one stall had been cleaned up when the officials returned a few days later. On March 25, authorities returned with a search warrant and found that while the animals were now being given food and water, their condition was still truly awful.
In total, 47 animals were removed from the farm. Of those, two were donkeys, one was a miniature horse, one was a pig and the rest were horses.
Two horses and a donkey were euthanized immediately on the scene at the recommendation of veterinarians present to assess the animals. They also found the three decomposing horses on the property that had not been buried.
Since then, both Gebhardt and Donald Podczerwinski, who also owned the animals, have been charged with numerous counts of animal cruelty. Each of them has been charged with 36 felony counts of cruelty to animals, “129 misdemeanor counts and 137 summary offenses for animal neglect,” according to WTAE-TV.
At least two locals who knew Podczerwinski spoke highly of him.
“This man never, ever, what I know … hurt an animal,” Marlene Blazczak told WTAE-TV. “He’s only been good to them.”
“He was spending his own money to give it to horses that he never even owned or possessed,” Stephen Blazczak added. “He probably spent 100,000 dollars on them, feeding them. He was over there cleaning the barns. He was doing everything.”
While Podczerwinski declined to speak to reporters, officers said that when they initially confronted him about the violations and how to correct them, his response was, “We will just shoot all the animals then.”
Podczerwinski’s preliminary court hearing is scheduled for May 18, and Gebhardt’s is on June 15.
While the conditions these animals endured sound truly atrocious, thankfully their nightmare is over. The animals were being cared for by Humane Animal Rescue in Ohio Township, and Rory Ridge Rescue Inc from Templeton, Pennsylvania, recently posted to remember the case.
“It’s been a little over a year now that we took a leap and stepped in to spearhead the large seizure case of 47 horses,” they posted on Monday. “We will never forget that day but we hope that the horses can forget.
“We will always be their voice.”