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House arrest, probation for abuse of horse

A Luzerne County man has been sentenced to 3 months of house arrest and 2 years of probation after a jury found him guilty of abusing a horse.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Christian Deleur of Wapwallopen did not want to speak with reporters after his sentencing at the Luzerne County Courthouse.

In September, a jury found Deleur guilty of eight animal cruelty charges, including two felonies, after a humane officer with the SPCA of Luzerne County found a horse, named Duchess, in his care, starving, with exposed hip bones, backbones, and ribs.

RELATED: Justice for Duchess

Deleur faced a maximum sentence of seven years in prison for each of the felony charges, but because he has no prior convictions, a judge ruled with state guidelines and sentenced Deleur to three months of house arrest and two years probation.

"Seven years is the maximum, and his guidelines were zero. His guidelines permitted him the sentence," said Deleur's defense attorney Michael Kostelaba.

"And he can't own animals, large animals during the time of the sentence," explained Garry Taroli, the attorney for the prosecution. "That sentence was in accordance with the state guidelines. So the judge was following the sentencing guidelines. While humane police officers might be disappointed, it's an appropriate sentence under the guidelines."

In court, Deleur told the judge he is "doing the best he can." But the prosecution was disappointed he did not express any regret for Duchess' condition when she was removed from his home.

"Yeah, we detected none of that. And he started some other incidences that have arisen to the nature of criminal offenses, but they've convinced us that he doesn't seem to have remorse," said Taroli, adding that he hopes it doesn't happen again.

"Well, it's tough to say, but I think with all the attention he's got, and hopefully, his care of animals will be different. The court order does prohibit him from owning or having control and custody of animals. But that won't stop him from working with other animals that are owned by other people," added Taroli.

The investigating humane officer tells Newswatch 16 Duchess has since been adopted to a new home and is doing well.