September 25, 2013

Volunteers pitch in for horse care

ESSEX — It took two days to move the 41 horses seized from Shelley Wing’s farm.

“We had six or eight different trailers and many experienced volunteers to help us,” Essex County Sheriff’s Department Major David Reynolds said on Tuesday.

The horses were taken from Wing and a Prayer Farm, officials say, because they were neglected, suffering from a range of issues, including malnutrition and injury.

Some are housed now by nearby farms, with 31 staying at the Essex County Fairgrounds in Westport, Reynolds said.

They are being fed and walked there daily as the criminal case in Essex Town Court continues to unfold.


Wing faces 41 counts of failure to provide sustenance, all unclassified misdemeanor charges.

She was home when deputies went with warrant in hand, Reynolds said.

“We were there to check the horses and, if necessary, take the ones that were unhealthy,” he said. “She was cooperative with us.”

Authorities determined that all of the horses were to be seized for violation of State Agriculture and Markets Law.


A civil hearing in the case is set for Oct. 7 in Essex Town Court.

“The town judge (Steve Sayward) would set a bond amount for care of the horses for a month, and the owner has to come up with that amount or she forfeits the animals,” Essex County Manager Dan Palmer said.

If she can bond for the funds and the case isn’t completed by the end of that month, there would be another hearing. The bond provision repeats as the criminal case moves through court, he explained.

He said County Attorney Dan Manning will represent the county in court. If Wing secures the bond, funds would be turned over to the county for the purpose of caring for the 41 horses.

“If she is unable to do that, then either the county can name a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or designate someone else to be lead agency for the bond,” Palmer said.

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