A 21-year-old man who fatally shot a horse as it pulled an Amish buggy carrying a family of five has been sentenced to one to two years in county jail.
Timothy Antonio Diggs Jr admitted several charges in relation to the incident in which the injured horse continued pulling the buggy home for about a mile before collapsing and dying.
The shooting happened on November 24 last year in East Lampeter Township.
Levi Lapp was driving his buggy north towards home around 9pm on North Ronks Road. With him was his wife holding their baby, and their other children, aged 7, 9, and 12.
Lapp was passed from behind by a car.
He heard what he thought was a firecracker tossed from the vehicle. His horse was unsettled but he managed to maintain control and they completed the journey of a mile or so home.
It was when they arrived at the family farm that he noticed the horse bleeding from a gunshot wound to the lower left side of the chest. The animal died before a vet arrived to give treatment.
Diggs, from Ronks, was a passenger in his own car when he fired the fatal shot, according to prosecutors.
He admitted one count of animal cruelty, five of reckless endangerment and one of propulsion of missiles in relation to the horse shooting.
He also admitted unrelated charges of receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment over shooting a firearm near homes, and tampering with a vehicle identification number.
Diggs apologised for the actions and at an earlier hearing laid the blame on his abuse of cough medicine.
He had no previous criminal record.
Lancaster County Judge David Ashworth imposed a sentence of one to two years jail in the case, which means Diggs will be able to served his sentence in county jail. The jail term will be followed by four years of probation.
Diggs was ordered to attend anger management classes and undergo drug and alcohol treatment. He was also ordered to pay more than $US3000 in restitution, but not in relation to the horse shooting.
Lapp chose not seek compensation for the loss of his horse.
Lancaster Online reported the judge as saying that if Diggs ended up back in court for misbehavior, “I’ll put you in jail for as long as I can.”
Diggs signaled his desire to get his life back on track, hoping to eventually go to trade school to become a mechanic.