by David Flint
Humane Society investigators accompanied by State Police and staff from four equine rescue groups seized 17 horses last Wednesday, September 13, from Black River Stable in Cherry Plain. The Stable has been in operation for two years on CCC Dam Road, just down the road from the Cherry Plain State Park. Proprietors Thelma and Mary Wadsworth offered lessons in horsemanship and day camps for children and trail rides for adults as well as children.
According to Brad Shear, Executive Director of the Mohawk-Hudson River Humane Society, his organization received an anonymous tip almost a year ago from a person who was concerned that the horses at the Stable were not being treated properly. The Society sent investigators to check it out and found conditions that “were not great,” but they thought they could work with the Wadsworths to improve things. They provided a plan for the feeding and care of the horses and returned monthly to observe. But, according to Shear, conditions just kept getting worse.
He said the horses were not fed properly and they began to look terribly emaciated. There apparently was
no veterinarian or farrier care, he said, and the horses’ hooves were in very bad shape. Investigators observed no food for the horses on the property. This month the Society contacted the State Police who got a warrant to seize the horses. They were placed with three of the rescue groups. Shear said five of the animals have been signed over to the Society and the Society will pursue ownership of the other twelve through the courts. The plan is to eventually adopt out the horses. In the meantime, Shear said, the Society is hoping to get donations to help with their care.
Shear said he will be working together with the State Police to develop the information for possible animal cruelty charges to be lodged against the Wadsworths. There could be one count for each horse.
The Wadsworths, reached by phone this week, declined to comment on the matter.