Ephrata man charged with cruelty for beating horse that died

(Ephrata Police Department)

EPHRATA, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lancaster County man is facing charges for his alleged treatment of a horse that died.

Ephrata police announced Friday they filed two citations against 20-year-old Marvin M. Sensenig for cruelty to animals.

The case got worldwide attention after a Facebook post that claims bystanders saw a man beating the horse until it collapsed, and then again when it was on the ground on Bethany Road in Ephrata Township.

“A witness to the prior treatment of the animal reported to an officer on scene that the horse had been beaten prior to its collapse and subsequent to its collapse,” Ephrata police Lt. Christopher McKim said.

Police said the horse became exhausted while pulling a wagon with two people and a load of watermelons. According to investigators, that weight was excessive.

“We believe it reasonable to conclude that the overworking of the animal ultimately caused the horse’s death,” McKim said, “and that the rough manner in which the horse was treated was outside the legal boundaries of normal agricultural operations.”

Police worked with the Lancaster County district attorney’s office on the charges for Sensenig. They said the prosecution is the fullest extent available under state law.

“It’s not in the hands of police to charge with more or make something up,” McKim said. “We have to go by what the laws of the commonwealth are and that’s what we’ve done.”

Sensenig faces a maximum penalty of a $1,500 fine and 180 days in jail.

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