October 9, 2013

Seized horses are Essex County property

ESSEX — By close of court on Tuesday, no bond payment for $43,890 was made here for 41 horses seized from the Wing farm last month.

“So I will be signing a document that forfeits ownership of the horses, that they may be available for adoption,” Town of Essex Justice Stephen Sayward said Tuesday evening.

Once he does that, he said, “the horses belong to the county and the Essex County Sheriff’s department.”

Thus ends the civil part of a case charging Shelley Wing and her daughter Emily Wing with 41 counts each of animal abuse in failing to feed and care for the herd on Wing and a Prayer Farm.

From here on out, Sayward said, “the civil part of this action is finished.”

The bond was meant to provide food, veterinary care and shelter for 40 horses for 30 days.

Essex County shoulders that cost now, with donations helping out. Officials hope to win a grant for the purpose as well.

Volunteers are caring for the horses at the Essex County Fairgrounds and at various farms; the County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to hire a professional trainer to supervise 


Still pending is the criminal aspect of the case that has documented the neglect of the horses, taken from the property off Route 22 on Sept. 18 and 19.

Documents on file at the Town Court indicate skeletal remains of two horses were found in the barn area of the Essex farm, along with emaciated, ailing and undernourished horses on the 20-acre property.

One of the horses, a mare, later died at the Essex County Fairgrounds, leaving a young foal.


The county will not be the “adoption” agency, Essex County Manager Dan Palmer said, rather it will retain a humane society to choose new homes for the horses.

“But that process depends on the condition of each horse,” he said.

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