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      Badly neglected horses discovered standing in several feet of manure

      Several agencies are investigating the neglect and abuse of animals on a rural property in the Cayuga County town of Conquest.

      When police and an animal cruelty investigator went to a property in the Cayuga County town of Conquest yesterday, they expected to find two horses. Instead they found ten. They were all kept in tiny stalls, barely able to move, and surrounded by up to three feet of manure. On Wednesday evening several of the horses were still caked with some manure as they began life in a new home at a farm in Sterling that is holding them as a respite.

      "These people did not clean the stalls - and it's not a week's worth of manure. We're talking a year, year and a half," said Vicki Osborne who has taken in four of the rescued horses for the time being.

      The property on Egypt Road in Conquest where the horses were found appears to be a junkyard. Animal control officer Diane Matthews said one horse was barely breathing and had to be euthanized by a veterinarian at the scene. The property owners agreed to release the other nine horses to volunteers.

      The hooves on the horses had gone so long without trimming many of them started curling up. Some of the horses are in so much pain they try to avoid putting weight on their back hooves. Several of the horses also have difficulty walking.

      "The weakness in the legs is due to being stuck in such a small stall and not being able to exercise. The muscles became severely weak - the tendons are mush," said Vicky Osborne.

      Matthews said the property owner was given an appearance ticket by the state police. CNYCentral has not learned what the exact charges are yet.

      Both Matthews and Osborne said all of the horses will need special care due to the trauma they experienced.

      The New York State Police and the Finger Lakes SPCA are also involved in the investigation of the animal abuse. The names of the property owners have not yet been released. They do have a Town of Conquest court date set for May 7th.

      Matthews also described the owners of the animals as "dog hoarders". They currently have some 18 dogs there.

      Cracker Box Palace , a farm rescue organization in Alton, took three of the surviving nine horses. Several other farms are holding the others as they await care.