May 9, 2014

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Horse owner arrested on five counts of animal cruelty

Horse is examined by Hudson Valley SPCA staff at the
Hamptonburgh farm in March (Photo: Jim Lennon)

MIDDLETOWN – Authorities arrested a Plattekill woman for five counts of misdemeanor failure to provide proper sustenance for animals.

State Police, along with the Hudson Valley SPCA and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, arrested Constance Dirago, 58, following a two-month investigation.

The initial investigation resulted in the confiscation of five horses that were malnourished and in immediate need of medical attention.  The horses were seized from a farm on Route 416 in the Town of Hamptonburgh with the assistance of Pine Bush Equine Rescue.

Three other horses died at the time, said Eugene Hecht, chief of the Hudson Valley SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division.

The five horses were transported to a horse rescue farm in Orange County.

Subsequent investigation resulted in an additional 28 horses and ponies, which were being cared for by Dirago, being voluntarily placed with a number of farms in Orange and Ulster counties.

Assisting in the ongoing investigation were members of the Ulster County SPCA, which obtained a search and seizure warrant for 16 horses taken from Dirago in Plattekill on Thursday.


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