Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pennsylvania: Trial set for Mercer woman, Nicole Rust, accused of animal cruelty for the 2nd time

PENNSYLVANIA -- A woman, formerly convicted of nine counts of cruelty to animals, is back in court today on new charges of cruelty involving animals.

Nicole Rust of Mercer was charged with cruelty in 2014 after 29 horses in her care were seized by the Humane Society of Mercer County. The agency said her horses were living in deplorable conditions and were malnourished.

In June of this year, 10 neighbors complained to the agency that once again animals owned by Rust were starving and neglected. The animals were living on a foreclosed property where Rust had once lived. Rust allegedly left the animals there after moving to Athens, Tennessee.

Many of the neighbors were feeding and watering the animals which were tied up on the property.


Neighbors said they had been in contact with the Humane Society of Mercer County since Memorial Day. At the time, Humane Society officials refused to comment when contacted by The Herald, but almost five months after the neighbors claimed they reported animals were being neglected, Rust was charged with cruelty to animals.

The new charges were made on Oct. 20.

In June, Rust had spoken to The Herald denying that her animals were abandoned on the property. She said someone was caring for them while she worked to prepare a spot for them in Tennessee.

Rust said her neighbors “should mind their own business.”

During the interview with the newspaper, Rust said she left five dogs, a number of cats and two horses in Mercer.


In 2014, several animals owned by Rust died, including horses. A veterinarian, who testified in the 2014 case, said he was told someone had poisoned the horses, but he saw nothing visible “that would be a hazard or poison.”


District Judge Lorinda Hinch, Mercer, who presided over the 2014 case against Rust said at the time she did “not intend to impose jail time” on Rust and another defendant in the case.

Rust will go once again before Hinch regarding the new charges of animal cruelty today. A summary trial is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

(Sharon Herald - Nov 28, 2016)