With his guilty plea Thursday, William Maxwell of Seaside ended an animal neglect trial which had been approaching for 1 1/2 years.

He pleaded guilty today, the third day of his trial, to one count of first degree animal neglect for failing to provide minimal care for his horse, Goliath, which had made headlines when he and eight other horses were seized in April 2006.

The plea came after the prosecution rested its case but before he began his defense. He also pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree animal neglect for failing to provide minimal care for QT, another horse in his herd.

All other charges against him were dropped.

Maxwell's son, Zane, had previously accepted a deal with prosecutors, receiving a conditional discharge and no charges placed on his record.

A similar offer was presented to William Maxwell, but he had been unwilling to give up the nine horses which had been seized in 2006.

Maxwell agreed Thursday to give up ownership of the nine horses. He faces up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine for first-degree animal neglect and six months in jail and a $2,500 fine for second-degree animal neglect. He is allowed to continue owning horses, but will serve four years of probation under the supervision of vet Russell Hunter, who specializes in large animals.

He will also have to pay restitution to the volunteers who took in the seized horses and cared for them.

"These women are just angels," said Clatsop County District Attorney Joshua Marquis. He said they were really heroes for taking the animals in without knowing if they would get to keep them.

"He is a good horse owner who is on a steep learning curve about what it takes to keep and raise horses in Oregon," said Geordie Duckler, Maxwell's attorney.

Maxwell's sentencing and restitution hearings will be held 1:45 p.m. Nov. 2.


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