On May 5, the SPCA received an anonymous complaint from a source who had entered the barn on the property and took photographs of the horses in their current conditions. Those photographs were forwarded to the SPCA.
Noting that some of the horses appeared extremely thin in the photos, SPCA officers headed to the property May 6. The SPCA's lead officer in the case, SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigator Jessica Coughlin, received permission to enter the property and photographed the horses upon arrival. On May 7, she presented photos and other information to Honorable Dennis R. Freeman, Newstead town justice. A warrant was signed allowing SPCA officers and a large animal veterinarian to again enter the property yesterday to further investigate the situation and examine the horses, removing some or all if their medical and/or living conditions warranted rescue.
The property on which the horses resided was deemed unsafe by SPCA officers and farm staff on-scene, with holes in the barn roof, fencing in disrepair, and at least two stalls filled with at least one foot of manure. Two of the horses are extremely thin, three are thin, one is at a more acceptable weight. Some of the horses are in need of significant dental work. One horse suffers from paraphimosis, and will be receiving further care for this condition that, if left untreated, could lead to paralysis.
All six horses were transported to the SPCA Serving Erie County's educational farm located behind its Ensminger Rd., Tonawanda shelter. The veterinarian on-scene yesterday will be at the SPCA today performing further medical exams and tests on the horses.
Charges are pending against the alleged horse owner.
The SPCA received a complaint on the same horses in March. Upon investigation, SPCA officers confirmed the horses were being cared for by their owner, who resided at an alternate location, and at least one had received veterinary care within the previous six months.