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Mother, Son Facing Neglect of Cattle Charges
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2023-11-29

            A son and his mother from Washington Township are accused of animal cruelty in Douglass Township. Sean P. Hallowell, 40, and Suzanne J. Hallowell, 62, are accused of neglecting a herd of cows housed at the Hallowell Farm, located in the 1000 block of Congo Road in Douglass Township.

            Both family members, who live at the same address on Washington Road, each face 10 felony counts of cruelty to animals, nine similar misdemeanor counts and nine summary offenses, 18 misdemeanor counts of neglect of animals and 18 similar summary offenses, They were arraigned Nov. 22 by Norristown District Judge Margaret A. Hunsicker, according to information posted on a state judicial website.

            Robert Evans, a sergeant with the Douglass Township Police Department, and Tracie Graham, the Humane Society Police Officer for the Montgomery County SPCA, filed the charges on Nov. 16 in the Douglass Township court of District Judge Maurice Saylor. An Oct. 2 interaction between a Montgomery County Sheriff's deputy on the farm with a resident of the farm triggered an investigation.

            The resident asked the deputy to check on the cows that were in the barn because he is not allowed on the barn property, and he was concerned Sean and Suzanne Hallowell were not taking care of the animals. Inside the barn, two deputies observed between 25-30 cows living in deplorable conditions and contacted the Douglass Township Police Department, according to the police criminal complaint.

            Two members of the local police department claim to have discovered cows walking in approximately a foot or more of their own feces in one section of the barn. They also claim to have observed cows tethered to the metal railing as well as a deceased calf in the middle half of the barn.

            Multiple cows appeared to be malnourished and there was very little hay inside the barn. Law enforcement officials also located several piles of bones from what appeared to be deceased cows around the perimeter of the barn, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

            Later that day, Graham claims to have observed between five and seven young Holstein-type cattle loose in two separate pens, described in the legal document as extremely unsanitary with several feet of wet, sloppy manure. It states that the cattle were sinking in the manure past their knees with no access out of the manure or wet conditions.

            She claims to have discovered a deceased calf tied in an aisle way in between the pens. Graham also observed 17 cows that were very vocal as officers entered the tie stall barn -- described by law enforcement officials as unsanitary with large amounts of manure, trash and equipment -- in various different body conditions.

            Most of the animals were very thin or emaciated, and none had any type of feed or hay accessible to them. Many of their bodies were covered by caked manure, and at least one of them had open sores over her hip bones, according to the legal document.

            During a conversation with Graham, Suzanne Hallowell allegedly acknowledged that the condition of the barn was not good, but said they do not have proper, working equipment to clean up the manure. She disagreed with the officer's statement that the cows were underweight.

            Suzanne Hallowell said that her cows are always thin. She also claimed that her cattle have Johne's disease, BVD, and Leukosis. She then blamed her husband – with whom she is going through a bitter divorce – for not fixing the equipment or helping, according to the legal document.

            Two days later, a domestic animal health inspector from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture inspected the barn and discovered that young cattle were still in the manure-filled pens. A newborn calf, still wet and shivering, was seen lying in the concrete feed trough.

            The tie stall barn had been cleaned slightly, but many of the cattle had large piles of manure behind them and none of the animals had feed or hay available to them at the time of this visit.

            Suzanne Hallowell allegedly told investigators that the cattle belonged to Sean Hallowell and that he did not want to get rid of the cattle, according to court records.

            On Oct. 10, during a visit from a Quakertown veterinarian, two Humane Society police officers noticed that four of the older calves had been moved to a small grass paddock, and some cleaning had been done in one of the pens with a skid steer.

            They determined that the majority of the pen was still unsanitary and that some of the animals had access to hay.

            The veterinarian told Suzanne Hallowell that the vast majority of the cattle, except for one calf, were underweight. He also said the animals do not appear to be ill, according to the legal document.

            Two days later, Suzanne Hallowell told Graham that she and her son had decided to move nine young heifers to another farm. In an email sent later on Oct. 12, Suzanne Hallowell confirmed the details of her plan to remove them on Monday, Oct. 16.

            That day, Suzanne Hallowell sent another message informing the Humane Society police officer of her plan to delay moving the animals. She claimed that the other farm needed to be repaired before the heifers could be moved safely, according to court records.

            On Oct. 19 – two days after Graham made an unannounced visit to the farm – the Montgomery County SPCA claimed to have seized nine Holstein-type cattle in extremely poor body condition and four domestic cats that were underweight and appeared to be suffering from upper respiratory infections with nasal and eye discharge.

            SPCA officials identified 17 additional cattle, in extremely poor body condition, in the tie stall barn, but the organization did not have the ability to remove them, according to the legal paperwork.

            Hunsicker set bail for both defendants at $10,000 unsecured. A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday before Saylor, according to the judicial website.


 

 

 

 

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