Horse caretaker lashes out at West Cocalico leaders

By on July 27, 2016

West Cocalico resident Troy Schlack addressed township officials at their July 19 meeting and was visibly and audibly upset.

At a supervisors meeting in early June, Carolyn Hildebrand, township manager, reported that neighbors complained about the condition of Schlack’s horses on his property along Greenville Road.

“There was an article printed in the paper about me with just a bunch of false stuff in there about my horses,” said Schlack. “It was as if I was starving them and not feeding them.”

“Obviously you weren’t looking when I showed you feed and hay,” he said to Hildebrand.

“I saw horses that were really skinny,” responded Hildebrand.

It was back on May 24 that Hildebrand, responding to complaints about possible equine neglect, visited the Schlack property along with Susan Martin, executive director of the Lancaster County SPCA.

Martin issued orders to Schlack to have the horses checked by a veterinarian within 48 hours and to provide food for them.

Martin subsequently said Schlack complied with the orders and began a feeding program prescribed by the veterinarian. No charges were filed.

However, a month later, Schlack was still intent on addressing the issue with the supervisors.

Schlack was standing in the back of the West Cocalico Township meeting room and became increasingly agitated. Ephrata Police Lt. Thomas Shumaker, in the first row, took notice and turned his attention to Schlack.

“The vet was out there and got a perfect bill of health!” Schlack told Hildebrand and the supervisors. “Are you a vet? If my horses were starving so bad, I just sold two at the New Holland stockyard.”

Schlack then directed a comment to Supervisor Chairman James J. Stoner.

“J.J., what do you get for a starving horse?” he asked. “Hundred bucks, two hundred bucks? I sold one for $1,300 and one for $850, so obviously they weren’t starving as the newspaper article said.”

The wood around the barn in which the horses were contained appeared to be “chewed,” and it was contended that the horses resorted to eating wood.

“Anybody who owns horses know that they chew wood,” said Schlack. “That hole in the barn was 90 percent from goats that I used to have. That hole has been in that barn for years! My horses do chew wood, they did chew bark; horses do that.”

He directed more questions and statements to Hildebrand.

“Did you tell them that my horse is perfectly fine and healthy?” asked Schlack. “It’s just the other two were not. They were fed, just not enough.

“I’m not gonna say I didn’t neglect them; I did do so neglect. My girlfriend was in Hershey medical for two freakin’ months, and I’m taking care of her kids which was a six- and an eight-year-old. Sorry if I neglected my horses a little bit; I ain’t gonna say I didn’t.”

“I’m just asking to say, I’m sorry, there was feed, they’re healthy, they didn’t have bad teeth,” Schlack concluded.

Schlack’s anger continued to escalate toward Hildebrand, but he calmed after Stoner spoke.

“At the end of the day, let’s all relax,” said Stoner. “We take your point seriously, and we’ll get it straightened out.”

“I understand,” Schlack said. “My horses were always fed, I just wasn’t feeding two of them enough as the one.

“Maybe that one was stealing from the other ones. I’m down to one and will probably sell in a month or so.”

Michele Walter Fry welcomes your comments at

One Comment

  1. Barb Showalter

    August 2, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Amazing. West Cocalico Cares about the horses but grant a variance to a puppy mill.

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