Feedback: Man Accused Of Cruelty To 22 Horses
A Massena man faces animal cruelty charges for allegedly failing to take care of 22 of his horses.
State police say 65 year old Patrick O'Neill failed to provide proper care for the animals.
O'Neill was charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty.
He was arraigned in Massena town court and was released to reappear in court at a later date.
O'Neill had been raising horses for years on his Haverstock Road farm.
"The owner just got overwhelmed by the care and maintenance that horses need," said Trooper Kim Briggs of the state police.
Neighbor Shannon Day-LaClair said she had been concerned about the way the horses were treated.
She decided to file a complaint with state police this week after taking pictures over a period of several months to show the condition of the animals.
(Two of the pictures are seen below.)
"The animals are hopeless and that's my goal to get them out of there. They don't deserve that," said Day-LaClair.
When troopers executed a search warrant on O'Neill's farm, they said they found three horse skeletons in a field and a fourth dead horse decomposing inside a barn.
O'Neill was given 72 hours, under state Agriculture and Markets law, to bury the remains or face further charges.
Police said they also found one horse that was unable to bear weight on a front leg.
That horse had to be removed.
Another horse is expected to have to be euthanized because of a serious skin problem which was left unattended.
Police said several of the horses suffered from serious hoof problems, while others were in need of de-worming.
All the animals are under the care of a local veterinarian.
We attempted to speak with O'Neill at his residence, but no one answered the door when we knocked.
O'Neill was arraigned on the 22 charges and released on his own recognizance.
Police said he will have a month to seek proper care for the horses, get rid of them or run the risk of facing additional animal cruelty charges.
Police said the Massena Humane Society helped them in their investigation, which is continuing.
Saturday, August 23, 2014, Watertown, NY
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