Local News

October 8, 2013

Skeletal horse remains found on Essex farm

Essex County DA building case against mother, daughter

ESSEX — Among 1,800 photos taken at the farm where 41 horses were seized are images of equine skeletal remains. 

One series shows a pile of horse bones on the dirt floor of a barn. Others were found beside a pasture barren of grass and lined with birch trees stripped of bark.

“The entrance to the barn and the barn itself had bones present; a scapula, a vertebra and several other bones were seen,” veterinarian Suzanne B. Russell said in the statement she gave to the Essex County Sheriff’s Office after viewing the situation at Wing and a Prayer Farm off Route 22 in Essex on Sept. 18.

A total of 28 horses were removed from the farm that day; 13 others that could not be caught were taken away the following day.

The Essex County District Attorney’s Office is bringing a criminal case against Shelley Wing, 59, and now her daughter Emily Wing, 20, for allegedly not properly caring for and feeding the herd, which ran unmanaged on the farm.


Photographs and veterinarian statements fill two boxes, chronicling condition of the 41 horses seized over the course of two days. 

Neither Shelley nor Emily appeared at the hearing in Essex Town Court on Monday.

“She (Shelley) will not be coming,” Essex Town Justice Stephen Sayward said. “It was requested by the public defender.”

A phone number for the Wing farm has been disconnected, so they could not be reached for comment.

The hearing brought criminal charges against both women, a total of 41 misdemeanor counts each of failure to provide sustenance.


Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, Sayward granted the Press-Republican access to depositions, horse evaluations and photos taken to document the case.

Evidence of food for the 41 horses kept on 20 acres there was sparse, Russell said in her statement.

“I did not see remnants of hay on the ground in any pasture,” Russell said. “Nor did I see any remnants of grain in any bucket in the barn or field.”

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