Monday, April 6, 2009

NY TB Breeder Floods Killpens w / "Unwanted" Horses

No wonder the New York Horse Counsel is so Pro-Slaughter!

NY Breeding Incentives Partly to Blame;

Prominent Horseman Faces Questions About Neglect Posted

Sun Apr 5, 2009 4:59 am (PDT)

Click on title above to read article in the New York Times;

(with bloggers annotation in parenthesis)

Published: April 3, 2009

Four undernourished and neglected former racehorses belonging to Ernie Paragallo, a prominent New York thoroughbred breeder and owner, were rescued from a New York kill pen last month, one step from being slaughtered. They were among more than 20 horses from Paragallo’s Center Brook Farm in Climax, N.Y., that were sold to slaughter for $680.

"Finely Decorated," who had lice, was one of four rescued mares.

The four mares were “hundreds of pounds” underweight, infested with lice and parasites and in “horrible condition,” according to Dr. James Holt, a Pennsylvania
veterinarian who examined them.

While Paragallo says he had given the horses away four months ago and was not aware of their sickly state, the discovery comes at a time when the thoroughbred industry is under increasing scrutiny of the health and welfare of its equine

Paragallo’s colt "Cellar Dweller" will run in the
$750,000 Wood Memorial on Saturday at Aqueduct, and his most famous
horse, Unbridled’s Song — of whom he is half-owner — commands a
$125,000 stud fee in Kentucky.

Paragallo said Thursday that he had given the horses away to a Florida-based breeder, whom he did not identify, in December with the agreement that he could breed the mares back to one of his stallions based in New York or Florida. In fact,
Paragallo said, he had intended to ship another batch of horses to the

“We were going to move 60 horses and get the added benefit
of earning the breeder’s reward if any of the babies did well
at the
racetrack,” he said, referring to a New York state incentive program
for breeders. “It was a home run for business.” (herein lies the peoblem)

Paragallo said he could not remember the last name of the man he gave the horses to,
his telephone number or his farm address. (Yeah, right) On Friday, however, a horse
transporter, Richie Baiardi, said he had picked up the horses at
Paragallo’s farm at the end of February with the intention of taking
them to Florida but could not because of their poor condition. (Indicating, of course, that the horses were in poor condition when he picked them up at Paragallos' Farm)

Baiardi said that he subsequently called Paragallo, who was not at the
farm at the time of the pickup, and complained about the horses’
condition. Baiardi, who said he was in North Dakota on Friday, said he
had van logs, receipts and other documentation at his home in Florida
to show that he had picked up the horses in February.

“They were a bag of bones, literally walking hides,” Baiardi said. “I knew I
couldn’t get health certificates for them, and I didn’t even think
they’d make it to Florida. I didn’t want to take them, but the guys
working on the farm said if I didn’t they were just going to die right
there. They told me, two had already died that morning.”

It was Baiardi who took them to the kill pen, and sold them for the $680, or
about $25 per horse. He said he had no other choice.

Paragallo,reached by telephone Friday, denied Baiardi’s account and said that the
150 horses on his farm, which is about 20 miles south of Albany, were
well cared for. (Of course, these are the ones that could possibly still earn income for the owner, they havent become liabilities, yet)

“We keep our barren mares thin, and we found that has worked for our breeding program,” Paragallo said. (Thin is one thing, starved is another)

He also said that the workers on his farm could not have urged Baiardi to
take the horses or anything else. “None of them speak English,” he said.

Holt, the veterinarian, said that blood and fecal tests showed that the
mares had suffered extreme neglect — they had bacteria infections, were
riddled with parasites like lice and worms and had skin diseases and
open wounds.

“It didn’t happen overnight,” Holt said.

Two of the mares had won races for Paragallo’s family-owned Paraneck
"Theonlyword," who had a puncture wound in her leg and carried
lice, won more than $50,000 and "Coconut Martini," who had a swollen leg and lice, nearly $35,000. The 17-year-old mare "Finely Decorated," who was also infested with lice and is possibly in foal, was purchased for $80,000 as a 2-year-old. She was the dam of Interior Designer, who won
more than $174,000. The mares’ injuries and ailments were documented by
Dr. Holt at the behest of Another Chance 4 Horses, a rescue group whose blog first reported the discovery of the mares. All four mares are being rehabilitated at their farm in Bernville, Pa.

Lisa Leogrande, who operates a boarding and training center in Fulton, N.Y.
tipped off the group to the Paragallo horses. She said she goes to
auctions for horses intended for slaughter in the hope of saving them.
In mid-March, she said, she went to the kill pen and saw the horses’
name bands, which are often used by big breeding operations to identify
their horses in pasture. She traced several back to Paragallo.

She rescued three of them — including an 18-year-old mare named "Casa
" who had won nearly $280,000 and two graded stakes races — and now
has them at her training center. She then notified Another Chance 4
Horses, which is led by Christy Sheidy, in the hope that her group
could rescue the rest.

Sheidy said the kill pen operator, who does not want to be identified, (the unholy alliance thing) said the horses were in such bad condition that he had to feed them for several weeks just to get them in shape for the trip to the slaughterhouse. (

Sheidy’s group bought the four mares, but was too late to save the rest from slaughter.

“There were a bunch of mares that someone didn’t care about anymore, and
that’s awful because they had been substantial contributors to that
breeding operation, were well-bred and valuable,” Leogrande said. “I
couldn’t understand why someone would leave them like this.”

After news of the mares’ rescue broke Thursday, chatter began to make its way around Internet message boards and blogs like the Paulick Report, inflaming a long-contentious issue.

It became so heated that Paragallo posted a long response Friday, asserting that he did not know of the mares’ ultimate destination.

“In December two vans arrived at our farm and picked up the 24 barren
mares, the drivers said they would be back in a couple of days to pick
up the rest,” he wrote. “After a week we called back the gentleman who
had called us but I never got an answer, safe to say he never came back
for the rest.”

While Paragallo denied responsibility for the mares’ condition, he said he was responsible for their fate. “They were my horses and what happened to them is a tragedy and a travesty, and I take full responsibility, but I didn’t send them to the killers,” he said. (No, he just starved them near to death and sent them to someone else to send to the killers)

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