Winchester man found guilty of animal cruelty


A man with a Winchester address who resides in Highland County was found guilty last week of an animal cruelty charge after dead pigs, and possible the carcass of a goat, were found on his property on S.R. 136.

Michael Phillips, 41, of Winchester was found guilty of animal cruelty, a second-degree misdemeanor, in Hillsboro Municipal Court. He was given a 90-day suspended jail sentence, and ordered to play a $250 fine plus at least $125 in court costs, and ordered to report to probation.

The episode started when the Highland County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call reporting deceased animals at 2313 S.R. 136 in Concord Township on June 25.

Deputy Justin Bunner arrived at the scene and was met by the caller, Ashley Collier. She told Bunner that she came to Micheal Phillips’ property the previous day to take five goats and that she noticed dead animals and very unhealthy animals on the property. She said she was only able to get three of the five goats that day and made arrangements to pick up the other two June 25, according to court records.

Donald Bowan, who was with Collier, said in court documents that he saw a Facebook post stating that Phillips was going to kill his pigs and goats, so Bowan told Phillips that he could take the goats. Bowan said he saw three dead pigs on the property on June 25, court records state.

Bunner reported seeing a blackish colored pig with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head and blood on the ground around the head of the pig. Looking further into the cage, Bunner reported seeing two more dead pigs of a similar color. He reported one of those pigs also had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head, according to court records.

Bowan pointed out a goat carcass toward the back of the property, court records state.

Bowan showed Bunner a Facebook post from Phillips that stated, “The pigs are now dead cause I gotta choose between Anne and the outside animals. May God forgive me for having to put the things I love down to save my marriage.”

Bunner contacted Phillips’ wife, Anne, and she told him that she got into an argument with her husband about buying more animals without talking to her about it. Phillips had sent his wife a text stating, “I’ll go out that right now and kill the goats and pigs,” according to court documents.

Phillips, according to court records, later texted, “The pigs are dead. Do I need to move onto the goats?” Anne Phillips reported hearing popping noises outside of the house during the text messages. She said she sent a text to tell Michael Phillips it would be animal cruelty and to put the animals up for sale.

Anne Phillips said she spoke to Bowan and gave him permission to take the rest of the animals off the property.

A warrant was issued for Michael Phillips on June 26 for animal cruelty.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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