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Man released following animal cruelty charges

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Man released following animal cruelty charges
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Numerous calls from neighbors raised concern about a horse farm in Massena. And, the owner was charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty, but the horses were never removed. Barry Wygel visited the farm and found out what went into the decision to keep them there.

MASSENA, N.Y. -- With a search warrant in hand, members of the New York State Police and Massena Humane Society visited the farm at 326 Haverstock Road in Massena.

"We wanted to search the barns, because there was an odor, distinct odor on the property," said Heidi Bradish, director of the Massena Humane Society.

The odor turned out to be a deceased horse that had not been properly buried. Investigators says there were also several other deceased horses on the property.

"We found that all of the horses needed to be treated for parasites, and they all needed their hooves trimmed," said Bradish.

The owner of the property, Patrick O'Neill, was arrested on 22 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, but was released.

"The horses were not in severe enough condition for us to remove them from the property. We went out with a large animal vet and he confirmed what we believed as well," said Bradish.

But O'Neill's troubles are not over.

"The owner of the horses was given one month to get the adequate care that they need, as in for their hooves, dental work and de-worming," said Kim Briggs, trooper with the New York State Police.

One horse that was found to have a leg injury will be taken care of by a neighbor, while another horse found with a skin infection will be euthanized.

Law enforcement officials say they will be monitoring the situation here closely to make sure the horses get the care they need.

Animal experts remind people to call the authorities if they suspect animal cruelty.

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