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Baylor found guilty of animal cruelty

by Jackie Nunnery

Scooby Doo as he appeared when animal control officer James Abbott visited the property on August 18. Photo by James Abbott, Lancaster County

LANCASTER—Following two days of courtroom drama in two separate Lancaster County Circuit Court cases, Janice Baylor, on Thursday, February 1, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor animal cruelty stemming from the starvation death of one of her miniature horses. In addition to surrendering all companion animals, she was given an active sentence of 10 days and ordered to report to the Lancaster County Jail on Tuesday, February 6, to serve her sentence.

On Friday, February 2, Baylor was given a final deadline of Friday, February 9, to remove any remaining pigs and horses from her Iberis Road property and surrounding neighborhood related to a separate December 2023 public nuisance conviction. 

Long, slow death

While potential jurors waited in another courtroom, presiding judge the Hon. Joseph J. Ellis took considerable time with Baylor in reaching a plea as at times she seemed confused about a no contest plea and the consequences involved. When Judge Ellis informed Baylor that the no contest plea would result in the court finding her guilty and mean waiving her right to a jury trial or an appeal, she hesitated each time. However, after additional consultations with her attorney, James Breeden, she again pleaded no contest.

During the hearing, Lancaster animal control officer James Abbott told the court he visited Baylor’s property on Friday, August 18, 2023, and saw the miniature horse Baylor had named Scooby Doo “with scars and a lack of body mass.” The horse was being kept with two other larger horses and Abbott, who has significant experience with horses, said he wanted to test how the other horses would react with food. He placed three separate piles of hay down and witnessed the larger horses bite at and chase Scooby Doo off, preventing him from eating. 

“I called Jan Baylor and told her the conditions were unacceptable and to contact a vet.” He said Baylor never returned his call. Meanwhile, Abbott made plans to seize the animal on Monday, August 21, contacting Dr. Callie Cuthbertson, DVM, to be present as required by law. 

Unfortunately, it would be too late to save Scooby Doo. When Dr. Cuthbertson arrived that morning, with Baylor present, she found the horse dead with….

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