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      Guilty of animal cruelty to horses left to stand in three feet of manure

      April 2012 photo of neglected horse.

      Ten months after a horrid discovery of animal cruelty in Cayuga County, the owners of ten malnourished and abused horses pled guilty to ten counts of animal cruelty. Conquest Animal Control Officer Diane Matthews said Lester and Mary Wing have to pay $5,000 in restitution and are not allowed to own horses in the future.

      The horses were placed on rescue farms and recovered after receiving proper care and nutrition.

      Last April here's how conditions were reported at the property owned by the Wings.

      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.