By OLIVIA PEPE
MOIRA - A handful of Moira residents have contacted the town board and New York State Police officers since May 29 about possible animal cruelty of horses that were located on Best Road.
New York State Police Trooper Jennifer Fleishman, public information officer for Troop B, said the horses have recently been moved to an undisclosed location.
Moira Town Supervisor Cindy Gale said the horses used to be on Clark Street before they were moved to Best Road this summer.
They might have moved them for that reason,Ms. Gale said of the animals reported owners, Frank Burgess and Brenda (Waite) Shampo.
Mr. Burgess and Ms. Shampo are still the horses owners, according to Tpr. Fleishman.
Ms. Gale said that the conversation she had with the Ms. Shampo back in May was unpleasant. She told me she was trying to fix them up and that she got them like that,Ms. Gale said in June, adding that Ms. Shampo suggested her horses were none of her business.
Ms. Gale said she contacted the police several times after the confrontation.
The town supervisor said after looking at the horses she said there was some crushed watermelon where they were kept, something she said horses do not eat.
She noted that there used to be three horses in the area; a black one, a white one and a chestnut one. The black horse is no longer visible.
Ms. Gale said that she had also discussed the situation with Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne.
An investigation is still pending while the New York State Police and the Franklin County DA work together, according to Tpr. Fleishman.
Ms. Gale noted that a veterinarian was checking the horses every couple of weeks and would continue to give the owners more time because he saw an improvement in the condition of the horses.
But Ms. Gale said that with before and after pictures she took the chestnut horse still appeared to be too thin.
I dont understand, she said. Its been three full months.
Ms. Gale added that she didnt know the name of the veterinarian who was previously checking on the horses.
The trooper always found plenty of water and food,Tpr. Fleishman said.
Ms. Gale noted that the reason the troopers have seen adequate food and water in the area is because residents have been feeding them and the owners have been taking the credit.
The owners were unable to be contacted for a comment.
Dr. Judy Alishauskas, a Malone veterinarian, is currently providing medical care for the animals, Tpr. Fleishman said.
Sue McDonough, New York State Humane Association president and a retired police officer, noted that jail time for those that are arrested could be up to a year for an animal cruelty charge.
She said she has been through several hundred cruelty investigations in the 26 years she was a policewoman. She has been around horses for around 50 years.
Equine Advocates PresidentSusan Wagner of Chatham said one of Equine Advocates supporters had shown the picture of the chestnut horse to her on Facebook.
People contact me because I know the law,Ms. McDonough said.
However, she noted it is up to the police to deal with the situation. I personally didnt go [see the horses], but its pretty obvious theyre not being cared for properly,Ms. McDonough said.
Proper care of horses is the correct food, clean water, and a three-sided structure for shelter.
Sick animals need veterinary attention,Ms. Wagner said. They need grain and good hay.
Ms. Wagner noted that emaciated horses she has taken care of have been in the hospital for at least a month for recovery.
Ms. McDonough added it is important for police officers to learn how to deal with animal cruelty. Only those that go to seminars she teaches around the state know what to look for, she suggested.
We need to get it into the penal law, she said, noting that police officers are taught about the penal laws and criminal procedure in the academy, but not so much the agriculture and market laws.
They dont know what to look for, she said.
For the past three years, New York State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-67th District, has been trying to get a bill passed that would allow police officers in the academy to go through adequate training on how to deal with animal cruelty.Ms.
Ms. McDonough said police officers can get a copy of her manual that she teaches online at: http://www.nyshumane.org/manual/manual.htm.
Ms. Wagner said those who notice that any animal is being treated poorly must make a formal complaint to the New York State Police for investigation.
Those that wish to understand more of what to look for may go to http://www.nyshumane.org/articles/reportingAnimalCruelty.htm.