New York State Troopers have arrested a Sprakers man for animal cruelty and failure to provide adequate food and water to more than a dozen horses on his farm.
The sick animals were seized last month after an investigation determined it wasn't safe for the horses to remain on the property.
Right now 51-year-old Carl Vitale is now behind bars at the Montgomery County Jail.
During an off camera interview on the front steps of his farm on March 22nd, Vitale told FOX23 News he loved his horses, and did not believe he mistreated them.
But on Monday, the Sprakers man was charged with two felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, and15 counts of failure to provide adequate sustenance.
That's one count for each horse.
The sick animals are being cared for at the Easy Street Horse Rescue Farm in Amsterdam, but sadly, not all of the horses could be saved.
Nina Bellinger founded Easy Street.
Bellinger says she vowed to seek justice for the horses the night two had to be put to sleep.
"The night we had to put down the two horses, I promised them both that we would get him for this. That was a really tough night, and I really broke down and cried a lot," she said.
The passionate animal lover is talking about 51-year-old Vitale.
After seeing the poor condition of the 15 horses she helped save from Vitale's Sprakers farm, she vowed to seek justice for the malnourished, dehydrated, worm infested animals.
Bellinger says she was happy to hear about the arrest.
"He was arrested on 2 felonies, on aggravated animal cruelty, and arrested for the deaths of the two horses that were put down. And then he was charged with 15 misdemeanors, one for each horse, and four penalties. And those penalties were for the horse carcasses that were not properly covered that they found on his farm," she said.
Bellinger estimates the number of animals that may have died due to neglect on Vitale's farm.
Counting on her fingers the Easy Street Rescue Founder said, "Well we know (there were) four carcasses, 2 were put down, that's six, but probably more. I would definitely say more, because we found the skull of a foal that was in his garbage. So there were probably a lot more that passed on, probably due to neglect."
Bellinger says if it were not for the rescue, a small, thin horse named 'Selsie' wouldn't have made it much longer.
"(Pointing) Like if this little guy that you see here had been left there, he eventually would have been starving because the other horses were getting the food. He wasn't getting any, because he was so weak. He's very malnourished, dehydrated, worm infested, he would have had a slow death. Many of the horses had slow deaths," she said with tears in her eyes.
But, thanks to generous donations, and volunteers like Katie Hastings and her dad, the 13 horses that are still alive are on the mend.
Hastings said, "It makes me happy to see that they're happy, and that they're getting cared for. And I think it's horrible that they've been abused, and it just really needs to stop because they have no say, and they need other people to help them because they can't talk, and it just makes me happy to do this," Hastings said.
Bellinger says she has worked closely with the farm owner since the rescue began.
She says after speaking with Vitale at length, she's sure he doesn't think he's done anything wrong.
"I think it happened over a long period of time, I think he got out of control, and he's disillusioned, and I think he's not seeing reality," Bellinger said.
Two of the rescued horses are at foster homes, but 11 others are still being cared for at the Easy Street Horse Rescue Farm.
Bellinger says due to the added population at the farm, she's now in desperate need of more hay, a way to transport the donated hay, and volunteers.
So, Bellinger decided to get creative in order to bring in some more cash donations and people to help.
The public is invited to a special "Pot-Luck Picnic" on Saturday May 5th, from 1p.m.-4p.m. at the Rescue Farm at 109 Langley Road in Amsterdam.
Participants are asked to bring a dish for the group to share, and during the event you can learn more about volunteering, donating, fostering and adopting one of the horses in need of a new home.
For more information call Nina Bellinger at 518 421 0125, or click here.