Investigators found horse bones in a barn at On a Wing and a Prayer Farm.
Updated October 18, 2013
A herd of 41 horses seized last month from a New York horse breeder has a new owner.
Shelley Wing, who is charged with animal cruelty, failed to pay a bond payment of $43,890. The bond was ordered by the court so the horses’ ownership has been turned over to the county. The funds were to cover the horses’ care for 30-days.
Investigators’ photos show the skeletal remains of a horse on the barn floor located on Wing’s farm. It was one of at least two horses’ skeletons in the building, according to court documents. “The entrance to the barn and the barn itself had bones present; a scapula, a vertebra and several other bones were seen,” veterinarian Suzanne Russell said in a statement to authorities.
In the deposition of Veterinarian Diane Dodd, she details that one of the piles of bones had the spinal cord in a pliable fashion, an “indication [of] recent death.”
Wing is charged with 41 counts of animal cruelty for failing to provide sustenance for the horses. Her daughter, Emily Wing, an American Riding Instructors Association Certified Instructor, is facing the same charges. Wing’s profile on the association’s website states she is certified in Eventing I and Stable Management. When we contacted ARIA on October 18, we were told Wing “has been suspended effective immediately, and her certification revoked.”
Authorities served a warrant to ensure the animals were being provided for after receiving a citizen’s tip, but documents state they found horses that were in “eminent danger of not living through the winter.”
Dr. Dodd states “only three animals were anywhere near normal body weight, but I could not score any of these horses a Henneke BCS of 4.” She scored the majority of the animals a 2 or 3 on the Body Condition Scale, which is emaciated. Since the seizure, one mare has died, according to the Press Republican.
It took two days to remove the group of horses from On a Wing and a Prayer Farm’s 20-acres, in Essex. “There were four stallions running loose with mare of breeding age most of which had foals with them from previous or current year and are most likely pregnant now.”
Dr. Dodd states it is her opinion that Wing is an animal hoarder.
The stable advertises its riding lesson program with ARIACP and “previously certified CHA instructors. Specializing in Eventing, Dressage, and the Hunter/Jumper disciplines, we teach beginner to intermediate riders not only about riding, but also about stable management and horsemanship.”
If found guilty, each count is punishable by up to a year in jail. The women are scheduled to be back in court on October 21.
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