Meadville Tribune

September 9, 2012

Fairfield farm animals are victims of spray paint

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP — Tim Schlabach was stunned when he first saw the fluorescent colors on his horse around mid-morning Saturday.

“I’m walking toward the barn and I see yellow, orange and green on her,”  Schlabach said Saturday afternoon at his home along Route 285 west of Cochranton. “I was thinking, ‘What in the world?’ ”

Someone apparently spray-painted one side of Lily, a 10-year-old mare, with bright fluorescent paint Friday night while she was in a pasture at the Schlabach family’s small farm in Fairfield Township.

“We have 18 sections (of pasture) and the part she was in is not close to the road,” said Schlabach.

Schlabach theorizes it had to have happened mid- to late Friday night based on a couple of factors: additional rain hit the area early Saturday morning, and sometime between 9 and 10 p.m. Friday, family members heard Lily neighing for about 15 minutes or more.

“My wife (Joanna) said to me, ‘What’s wrong with Lily?,’ ” but we didn’t check,” Schlabach said.

Lily, it turns out, wasn’t the only animal at the Schlabach farm that was found painted Saturday morning.

“I’m walking toward Lily when one of the goats came out of the barn and I saw it was green,” according to Schlabach. A closer examination of a male goat, Josh, found green and yellow paint around its face.

The incident is the second time in two weeks that a horse in Crawford County has been harmed by someone.

During the weekend of Aug. 25 and 26 someone doused Northstar, a 6-year-old horse owned by Jessie Woodworth of  Centerville, with a flammable liquid and then set it on fire in an Athens Township pasture. Though burnt or singed on most of its body, Northstar has survived and continues to slowly recover.

Pennsylvania State Police at Corry have been investigating the case for the past two weeks, but had no new information on the case as of Saturday,

After the Schlabachs discovered their two animals marred by paint, they checked with neighbors and found no other animals had been painted. However, the family noticed road signs and mailboxes along Route 285 as well as some adjacent roads were spray-painted in the same colors.

Schlabach contacted Pennsylvania State Police at Meadville about the incident.

“We’ve never had any trouble,” he said. “We’ve been here 13 years. I don’t know of having any enemies.”

Meanwhile, the Schlabach family will try to remove the paint on Lily by brushing her.

“Some of it may have to grow out,” he said.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

You can help

Persons with information about the animal spray-painting incident at the Tim and Joanna Schlabach farm in Fairfield Township are asked to contact Pennsylvania State Police at Meadville at 332-6911.

Pennsylvania State Police at Corry still are asking for the public’s help in gathering information about the horse-burning incident in Athens Township. The incident took place between 7 p.m. Aug. 25 and 6 p.m. Aug. 26.

Persons with information about that cruelty to animals case are asked to contact state police at Corry at (814) 663-2043 or toll-free, (800) 922-1975.