Conquest condemns property where abused horses were found living in squalor

A Conquest property has been condemned after 10 horses were found living in squalor.

Town officials say 66-year-old Lester Wing's property, in the Cayuga County Town of Conquest, has been a problem for years. Supervisor Charles Knapp says it's had consistent code violations for more than a decade. The town says it's taken Wing to court several times over the years but kept running into dead ends. Thursday, Wing's property was condemned.

"It's frustrating for us town officials because we are constantly fighting this battle," said Supervisor Charles Knapp. "We have people complaining to us."

"It's just been a thorn in the town's side," said Town Councilman Ed Cook. "We need to get it resolved. We never imagined they would find 10 horses living in such squalor."

This action comes after

State Police and the Cayuga County SPCA responded to the home

at 10671 Egypt Road on Tuesday to investigate the condition of ten horses being kept in a barn on the property. The SPCA determined all the horses needed to be removed due to their medical and physical conditions. One horse had to be immediately euthanized. The horses were being kept in tiny stalls, barely able to move, and surrounded by up to three feet of manure. Several of them were covered with manure when they were found.

The hooves on the horses had gone so long without trimming many of them started curling up. Some of them are in so much pain they try to avoid putting weight on their back hooves. Several also have difficulty walking. The SPCA arranged for the surviving horses to be cared for at other local farms.

53-year-old Mary Wing and 66-year-old Lester Wing are facing misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.

"The stalls were probably 3 feet deep deep with manure," said Animal Control Officer Dave Matthews. "We assume the only reason that building was still standing is because there was so much manure it was holding the walls up"

State Police say a 6-month-old boy was also removed from the property. 31-year-old David Meeks and 30-year-old Rhode Wing are charged with endangering the welfare of a child. State Police say the baby boy was living at the home under conditions that were hazardous to his health. Arrangements were made for the child to stay somewhere else while the conditions were remedied.

CNY Central went to the property Thursday night to try and talk with the homeowners. No one could be reached. The town says Wing needs to either bring his property up to code, or get out.

Right now, the horses are being cared for and continue to make improvements. But animal rescuers say it will be a long road to recovery. They hope to eventually get them adopted into forever homes but say it could be a year before they are completely healed.

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