By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
ALLIANCE -- Authorities are working to remove four malnourished horses from a Middletown Road barn in Smith Township.
A warrant has been issued charging the property owner, Cynthia Bichsel, 48, with animal cruelty. She has not been arrested, and police and humane investigators are trying to locate her.
John Siranovic, Smith Township police chief, said the investigation was initiated from residents' complaints.
Although Bichsel is still listed as the property owner, according to the Mahoning County auditor's office Web site, the chief said she has moved.
Because the complaint involved animals, the police department notified Animal Charity. A veterinarian, Dr. Suzanne Wilcox of Hubbard, also went to the scene.
"The horses were skinny, and the stalls were full of feces," said Jason Osborne, humane investigator. "The water buckets had algae in them. Nobody's been there for a while."
Horses were boarded at the barn.
Both Osborne and Siranovic said they are working to remove the four horses in the barn.
"We're getting sanctuary set up right now," Osborne said.
Other horses on the property appeared to be fine, he said.
Last week, the Mahoning County sheriff's office removed 16 horses from a Canfield Township boarding stable, where a veterinarian deemed they were living in unsafe conditions. The animals were placed in foster care.
Deputy sheriffs searched the South Raccoon Road stable after receiving complaints about the horses on the property.
No charges have been filed in the Canfield case.