Spring Mills man accused of having ‘deplorable’ farm, dead cows sentenced for animal neglect

A Spring Mills man who pleaded guilty to animal neglect was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation and a $1,000 fine.

Joseph Fahy, 64, was charged after state police at Rockview answered several phone calls in December 2018 about dead cows at Fahy’s Gregg Township farm.

There was no hay and the only visible water was frozen. The farm was in “deplorable” condition, state police trooper Madison Harris wrote in an affidavit of probable cause filed in February.

Fahy and his defense lawyer, Terrence McGowan, said it was “an act of God” that led to the deaths. McGowan cited the record-setting rain that bedeviled Centre County last year.

“Joseph discovered the animals the day they died,” McGowan told Centre County Judge Brian Marshall. “Unfortunately, this case gained a lot of attention because of social media.”

Public intervention, Centre County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Stover said, was the reason more animals did not die. This was one of the more serious cases of animal neglect in Centre County history, Stover said.

“When you take on animals of this nature, you have a duty to take care of them,” Stover said. “... It wasn’t something that happened over night.”

Fahy, who pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of animal neglect in September, said the skies “opened up” in the summer and never improved.

“It was never my intent to cause injury or harm to these animals,” Fahy said. “... I complied to the best of my ability.”

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.