by Fran Jurga | 22 March 2010 | The Jurga Report at Equisearch.com
Spring has sprung. There's hope in the air. Life begins the next cycle of renewal and rebirth. And nowhere is that fact better known than Greene County, New York.
A few weeks ago, Thoroughbred owner and breeder Ernie Paragallo was found guilty on multiple counts of cruelty to almost 200 horses in one of the most widely publicized cases of animal neglect and abuse ever brought to trial in the United States.
Even though animal abuse is a mere misdemeanor in the state of New York, Paragallo faces up to two years in prison and a fine as high as $33,000.
But Ernie isn't the star of this story. He's just the villain. The star, or stars, are the horses that lived to mock him. Most of the bony, mange-y, lice-invested, rain-rotten racks of bones that were found on his farm a year ago, managed to survive--but just look at them now!
Groceries, worming medication, and TLC from the rescuing agencies and some very generous and loving adoptive owners made all the difference in the world, as the Today Showsegment makes clear.
Let's start the week with a feel-good story...and see how far it will carry us. Maybe it will be contagious, and this will be an entire week of good news for the horse world.
PS Ernie Paragallo's sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 18th. I believe that it should not be possible to speak of Ernie Paragallo's arrest and conviction without mentioning the roles played by Another Chance for Horses, a Pennsylvania horse rescue group that opened Ernie's can of worms for him and precipitated the raid on his farm, and the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA, which helped with the actual removal of the horses and the adoption of many of them.
Anyone and everyone who helped with this massive effort should be thanked and congratulated. And those of you who adopted the horses, knowing that they might have health problems and the bills might run high: you did it anyway, and for all the right reasons.
This story disturbed me so deeply as it unfolded, particularly in the early weeks when we were learning more and more about just how bad things were at Paragallo's farm. Seeing these horses in the video is more than amazing. It's a miracle, and testimony to the new hope that spring can bring.