Equine Abuse & Neglect

Abusing, neglecting, and abandoning an equine or any other animal is against the law. Caring officials who are committed to enforcing cruelty laws are essential to making sure that those who illegally transport, starve, abuse, and/or abandon an equine are charged with animal cruelty. It is also necessary that average citizens who witness animal abuse come forward and file a formal complaint. For some people, it takes a lot of courage to take the initiative and report incidents of animal cruelty, but by doing so, suffering and death can be prevented. And in the end, you will be able to feel good about the fact that you took action and did the right thing. In New York State, police officers and state troopers are required by law to respond to animal cruelty complaints.

When cruelty laws are not enforced, horses suffer.

Following are three abuse/neglect cases where law enforcement was needed to take action:

1. Marty, Beau, and Clive were seized by police and placed under Equine Advocates’ care. Their former owner was eventually charged with animal cruelty and pled guilty. The horses, who had been living in squalor and required medical attention, were given a permanent home at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary. (Sadly, Marty passed away in 2017 and Clive passed away in 2022.)

2. Equine Advocates rescued three emaciated and badly neglected Thoroughbreds at Ernie Paragallo’s Center Brook Farm in Greene County, New York, which is just south of Albany. The horses remained in the hospital for 37 days. The three Thoroughbreds that Equine Advocates rescued on that frigid winter day, Mikey (formerly Break the Clock), Arnold (formerly Cluster Bomb), and D.A. (thought to be Pass the Pie), have since been written about in a New York Times article and had their stories told on a CBS affiliate in Albany. (Sadly, Mikey passed away in 2023.)

Although Paragallo was finally charged with numerous counts of animal cruelty, that did not happen until more than two years later after a chain of events occurred that finally motivated the authorities to take action against him. Reports that more of his badly neglected and emaciated horses were rescued as they were being shipped to Canada for slaughter started hitting the news. By the time the authorities finally raided Center Brook Farm, a total of 177 horses were found suffering from varying degrees of emaciation and neglect. Some were in such bad conditions that they had to be humanely euthanized.

Mikey, D.A., and Arnold when rescued (top) and at our sanctuary (bottom)

Specially formed task forces on animal cruelty could effectively assist law enforcement with equine abuse cases.


3.  Equine Advocates accompanied the Special Rensselaer County Task Force on Animal Cruelty on a raid where two horses, Jeremy & Nick, were seized. Jeremy is seen here outside an equine hospital where he and Nick were taken right after they were seized by New York State troopers and police.

The Special Task Force on Animal Cruelty formed in Rensselaer County, New York by former Rensselaer County District Attorney Trish DeAngelis is proof that if handled correctly, abusers can be brought to justice. Equine Advocates accompanied the Rensselaer County Task Force on Animal Cruelty on a raid with 12 individuals who participated on the Task Force, including a licensed equine veterinarian, state troopers and police, an Animal Control Officer, Humane Officers, and a member of the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office.

The operation was carried out with precision. The equine vet did a thorough evaluation and examination of the two horses at the time that they were seized by police. Enough evidence was gathered to where the owner was charged with animal cruelty. Equine Advocates was given authority to take the horses to an equine hospital and assume their care afterward. The horses were eventually surrendered to authorities by the owner and Equine Advocates kept them. We named them Nick and Jeremy and they had several happy and healthy years at the sanctuary after their ordeal. Sadly, Jeremy passed away on February 21, 2014, and Nick passed away on July 28, 2019 from Potomac Horse Fever.

We believe that there should be a Special Task Force on Animal Cruelty formed in every county of every state, particularly in the ones that have farms.

In New York State, “Buster’s Law” (New York Agriculture & Markets Law § 353-a. Aggravated cruelty to animals) makes it a felony to abuse any “companion” animal in New York State. The legislation was named after a cat who was set on fire in the city of Schenectady. Animal cruelty is considered a bridge crime, and this law has helped and continues to help put many dangerous people behind bars. We believe that strengthening the cruelty laws in every state, combined with the formation of special task forces in every county, would dramatically help to deal with violence and cruelty against animals in the United States.