Cruelty charges lodged against horses’ owner

Published 9:44 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The owner of five horses found starving and in poor condition in a wooded area along Wilroy Road late last month has been arrested and charged with cruelty to animals.

Jennifer Eileen Harrell, 33, of Deer Path Road faces five misdemeanor cruelty counts in relation to the animal’s discovery, according to Suffolk spokesperson Debbie George. Police served Harrell with the warrants on Monday.

Three neighbors of the property from which the horses were rescued noticed them Sept. 26 and called for animal control to come out and help.

Two of the horses and a pony were tied to trees with dog leashes, and the other horses were roaming free on the property, George said Tuesday. All were severely undernourished, and a neighbor reported that they suffered from skin infections.

When Suffolk officials responded to the property, they found the animals had water available to them, but no food, George said.

The condition of one of the horses was so deteriorated that it had to be euthanized on the recommendation of a veterinarian. The others are being held in private stables while animal control officials pursue court action designed to force Harrell to forfeit the animals, George said.

Harrell had been allowed by the owner of the Wilroy Road property to keep the horses there, George said. Some goats also were found on the land, but their condition was fine, and they were not removed from the property.