A woman from Yamhill County, Oregon, charged with 55 counts of felony animal neglect and a single charge of fraudulent use of a credit card, fails to appear during mandatory court hearings resulting in her arrest. The presiding judge issued a warrant for her arrest and a delay in at least one of her two trials which are connected with Silver Oaks Saddlebreds– her purported horse training and breeding business.
The horses and cats seized in February of 2021 have since been forfeited by court order to the Oregon Humane Society and Sound Equine Options.
Susan Swango, 82, was supposed to attend a pretrial readiness hearing on September 16th but failed to appear in Yamhill County Circuit Court in McMinnville, OR.
Prior to Swango’s previous hearing that she attended in July, Swango had missed multiple hearings. During the July hearing, Judge Cynthia Easterday had pointed out to Swango that she had not issued a warrant for her past failures to appear.
NW Horse Report was the only news organization who covered the previous hearing which Swango attended, an eventful occasion which resulted in Judge Easterday repeatedly scolding Swango for inappropriate outbursts and interruptions.
The trial for fraudulent use of a credit card, which is being handled separately from the felony charges for animal neglect, was originally set to begin today. A separate trial over the felony animal neglect charges is scheduled for January.
Since Swango had not been arrested by yesterday afternoon on a warrant issued last week, a pretrial appearance in lieu of her trial was held instead in which her court appointed legal advisor and the Yamhill County prosecutor attended.
Today’s hearing started without Swango in attendance, until someone noticed that Swango was waiting in the hallway and had not entered the courtroom as required, and had done properly on past occasions.
During the course of today’s hearing, Swango repeated many of her claims and statements previously made regarding the charges against her, as well as allegations that fraud and theft were being perpetrated against her by the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office. She also stated that she wanted arrest warrants issued for all the officers who she alleges trespassed on her property, referring to the seizure and warrant executed in February of this year.
Swango also stated she missed her September 16th hearing due to being in Kentucky for a horse show, prompting the Judge to remind her that she was not permitted without permission to leave the State under the terms of her conditional release agreement.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Swango was taken into custody by a courthouse deputy. After booking she was released shortly thereafter.
The trial regarding the credit card matter has been rescheduled for February of 2022. Swango’s trial over the charges related to the felony neglect of her horses is still scheduled for January of 2022.
While the credit card case is being handled by an in-house prosecutor, the Yamhill County District Attorney’s Office has the horse neglect case being handled by Deputy District Attorney Jacob Kamins, the State’s special animal cruelty prosecutor. Kamins is often tasked with handling cases across Oregon but is based with the Benton County District Attorney’s office.
You can view all of our coverage concerning Swango by clicking here.