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A Syracuse man has been charged in an animal neglect case alleging he had malnourished horses and dogs on his property, including a horse so weak it had to be euthanized at the scene.

Desmond Stewart, 32, faces five misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, which were filed Monday stemming from an investigation in January.

An Elkhart County police officer, responding to a neglect report, found an ailing horse down in a pasture on the property at 16815 U.S. 6 on Jan. 4. The horse was struggling to get up but couldn’t, and had ice forming on its coat, the officer wrote in the probable cause affidavit in the case.

Two other horses were seen moving on the property, and four dogs were found kept in horse stalls in a barn. The officer said the horses and dogs had no access to food or water, and dog feces littered the stalls, according to the affidavit.

Stewart wasn’t home at the time, but arrived later to meet the officer. Humane Society officers also arrived to seize the animals. A veterinarian was then brought in for the downed horse, and an examination found it was about 100 pounds underweight, the affidavit shows.

Since the horse was unable to stand, and since Stewart couldn’t provide critical care for it, the doctor recommended euthanization. The officer performed that task by shooting the horse with his service weapon, according to the document.

The officer described Stewart as “visibly upset” about the horse and the seizure of the animals. When they initially spoke, Stewart said he fed the animals each morning before going to work in Chicago and each evening when he returned home. Later, he said he was at the property every day, provided grain and water to the horses each day, and cleaned the stables once or twice a week. He also said the dogs didn’t have water because they spilled their containers, the affidavit shows.

Two witnesses told police they never saw anybody at the property, the affidavit shows.

Stewart was cited on an animal cruelty charge at the scene and instructed to appear in a magistrate court on Feb. 15.

The case with the five animal cruelty counts was filed Monday in Elkhart County Superior Court 5.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Ryan Schmalfeldt, 38, Osceola, faces charges of sexual misconduct with a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Schmalfeldt is accused of inappropriately touching a teenager from a neighboring home who spent the night at his house in late June, the probable cause affidavit in the case shows.

According to allegations made by the victim to investigators, Schmalfeldt drank alcohol and smoked marijuana with the teen at his home. He allegedly touched the teen inappropriately later that night.

The victim had stayed at Schmalfeldt’s place in the past with the parents’ permission since he was known to them, the affidavit shows. The victim also told investigators Schmalfeldt had purchased cigarettes for and given alcohol to the teen in the past.

Schmalfeldt, during a later interview with investigators, said the victim had a “chaotic” home life and that the victim had stayed at his house in the past, the affidavit shows.

He admitted giving the victim alcohol and marijuana and that their relationship became “more flirtatious” than it should have. He also said he fell asleep on his bed with the victim the night the juvenile stayed with him in June, but he didn’t remember if any sexual activity occurred, according to the affidavit.

The case was filed in Elkhart County Superior Court 3 Monday, charging Schmalfeldt with two Level 5 felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and two Level 6 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

ARRESTS

Shawn Marshman, 19, Union, Michigan, and three juveniles were arrested by LaGrange County police each on a charge of possession of marijuana after police, responding to a suspicious vehicle call, found the four with marijuana in a car parked at a field entrance in the area of 1800 W. 650 North Monday, according to a news release.

Marshman was jailed, and the juveniles were turned over to the custody of their parents or guardians, the release shows.

CRASHES

• A car driven by Robert Wenzel, Syracuse, collided with a pickup truck driven by Noel Klingaman, Topeka, at C.R. 37 and C.R. 38 near Goshen around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. In the process, Wenzel’s car also destroyed a fence along the 64000 block of C.R. 37, Elkhart County police said in a news release.

Wenzel and Klingaman were both taken to Goshen Hospital to receive treatment for their injuries, police said.

• An SUV driven by Loretta Schwartz, Wolcottville, rear-ended an SUV driven by Arron Lambright, Shipshewana, when Lambright stopped to turn left into a driveway along the 1000 block of Ind. 5 around 2 p.m. Monday, LaGrange County police said in a news release.

Schwartz was apparently taken to Parkview LaGrange Hospital to receive treatment for bruising, according to the release.

Lambright did not report any injuries.

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF

Staff at Marathon reported to Goshen police a person destroyed several small displays at the gas station, 501 E. Madison St., around 1:20 p.m. Monday.

BURGLARY

Cynthia Rugg, Mishawaka, reported to Goshen police a burglary to a relative’s house in the 400 block of North Seventh Street around 2 p.m. Monday.

THEFT

Hope Holland, Syracuse, reported to Goshen police her phone, ID and debit card as stolen after she lost them in the parking lot of Walmart, 2304 Lincolnway East, around 10:20 a.m. Monday.

BREAK-IN

Shawn Miller, Goshen, reported to Goshen police his vehicle was entered while it was parked at a home sometime between Nov. 10 and Sunday. Miller told police he didn’t think anything was taken from the vehicle.

FRAUD

• Norman Floria, Middlebury, reported to Elkhart County police Sunday a case of fraud that occurred Oct. 21.

• Jerry Anderson, Bristol, reported to Elkhart County police a case of fraud that occurred sometime between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Friday.

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