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Man accused of animal cruelty makes first appearance in court

Marion Harmon faces 57 charges
Posted at 9:55 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 13:29:15-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The man accused of animal cruelty made his first appearance in a Leon County Courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

Marion Harmon appeared virtually in his Leon County Detention Center jumpsuit.

In court, state prosecutors revealed this wasn't Harmon's first arrest.

"The only prior history I'm aware of was in 2019. It was four counts of unfortunately rather similar nature to the court today," said a state prosecutor.

Harmon never served time for that arrest. Instead, he entered a diversion program.

Court documents reveal Leon County Animal Control responded to calls about Harmon's animals for years; even issuing him citations.

However, on June 1, a call about buzzards seen picking at a carcass led animal control employees to find the bones of at least 16 dead animals on the property.

Those documents say law enforcement uncovered 13 sheep, one cow calf, and two turkey carcasses.

When animal control paid Harmon a visit in June, they found sheep that could barely move because they needed to be sheered. Many animals didn't have a place to go for water or food. The court documents say Harmon told deputies the animals drank from a nearby pond but deputies say they never found that pond.

"This case did involve quite a few resources for law enforcement to literally corral the other day. It's a shocking situation to the state," said the state prosecutor.

In court, Harmon told the judge he felt there were more animals yet to be taken.

"Up there on Baum are a few sheep and goats. Can I contact anybody to go up there every day to care for them or are you going to take them too?" Harmon presented to the court.

While prosecutors say they believe all of Harmon's animals have been taken away, the judge granted Harmon's wish. Under the condition that Harmon proves he's paying for care and doesn't go near any animal himself.

Harmon was granted pre-trial release.

The Leon County Humane Society said many people have reached out asking how to help with the recent animal cruelty case in which over 200 farm animals including pigs, sheep, cows, donkeys, chickens, ducks, and a horse were rescued.

LCHS was notified by Leon County Animal Control that Country Feed Store & Garden Supply is accepting donations of food for those animals removed from the property.