Man, 73, pleads not guilty to assaulting officer, obstruction

Thomas Linke
Thomas Linke

WOODVILLE -- A 73-year-old man pleaded not guilty today when he was arraigned on charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly tried to hit investigators with his vehicle as they looked into an animal cruelty case at his residence.

Thomas Linke, of 4632 Sandusky County Road 16, was charged in Sandusky County Court District 2 in Woodville with assault on a police officer, a fourth-degree felony, and a second-degree misdemeanor charge of obstructing official business. He was released on his own recognizance, said Sandusky County Assistant Prosecutor Norman Solze. 

"He's been a life-long resident of county," Mr. Solze said. "There is no indication that he is going to flee the jurisdiction."

A preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 16.

Mr. Linke will also be facing 15 counts of animal cruelty, said Kelly Askins, Humane Society of Sandusky County shelter manager and animal cruelty investigator. Charges are expected to be filed and served within the next few days, she said.

Twelve goats, two cattle, and one sheep were seized from the property Tuesday, she said. They were immediately taken to a veterinarian and are now in foster homes, Ms. Askins said. The sheep was in particularly bad shape, she said. 

"She hasn't been sheared for a very long time," Ms. Askins said. "I'm not even sure how she has been able to defecate, with all of the dried fecal matter on her rear. I suspect she'll have skin infections we will treat once she is sheared."

Ms. Askins obtained a warrant to go on the property Tuesday after receiving multiple complaints about a dead goat in a pasture. She found three dead goats and two dead cattle. Ms. Linke will not be charged for the dead animals because it is unclear how they died, Ms. Askins said. 

Mr. Linke, driving a truck, allegedly rammed the front of a vehicle which was hooked up to a horse trailer that volunteers had brought to the scene Tuesday. That vehicle had been backed up to the gate in order to load animals, and it was not occupied at the time of the collision, she said.

Ms. Askins said a BCI agent had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck. She said no one was hurt and Mr. Linke was arrested by Sandusky County sheriff’s deputies at the scene.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: or 419-724-6066 or on Twitter @TanyaIrwin.