MASSENA - A search warrant was executed Thursday at the 326 Haverstock Road home of a man currently facing 23 animal cruelty charges.
Twenty-two of the charges were filed in May and were connected to the alleged neglect of his horses, while the last charge was filed Monday following the death of his dog, which he allegedly left in his car while attending the state fair in Syracuse.
Troopers said the warrant execution will not result in additional charges, and while police were given the authority to seize Patrick J. ONeils animals, they said it was determined their condition of them did not merit seizure.
Trooper Kim M. Briggs did say that many of the horses were in need of hoof care, deworming and a brushing, but she added that they were unable to find serious medical problems with any of the animals.
Other than that they were all in good health from what we could see, she said.
State police were aided in executing the warrant by staff from the Massena Humane Society, as well as a veterinarian (Don Russell) and a vet tech (Janet Collier) from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
We were mainly here to make sure he was following on with the basic husbandry care, Trooper Briggs said, adding it was determined that he was.
They all have food and water, she said, adding she was going to follow up with Mr. ONeil again next week.
Trooper Briggs said they are encouraging Mr. ONeil to put several of the horses up for adoption, but with pending animal cruelty charges against him that may not be possible.
We have to talk with his lawyer to see if he is able to adopt them out, she said. They may still be considered evidence.
Shannon E. Day-LaClair lives across the street from Mr. ONeil and is also a horse lover. Shes acknowledged filing the complaint against him that resulted in the initial 22 charges.
Its a nightmare what has gone on over there, she said, adding she was disappointed that none of the horses were seized on Thursday.
If they stay there over the winter, theyll die, she said. You have to do something; you just cant watch them suffer.
And while it was determined that the horses were in good health, several of them did have cracked hooves, as well as open wounds and sores.
Another neighbor, Nicole Harvey, said theres no excuse for his alleged failure to care for the animals.
This mans a farrier (professional hoof trimmer). This is what he does for a living, she said. He has the skill; he just chooses not to care for these animals.
And while both women acknowledged disappointment, they said they were optimistic that this story would have a happy ending.
Of course the horses look fine now, Ms. Harvey said. Theyre out in pasture, but theyll (police) be coming back this winter when theyre out there digging in the snow for food.
Mrs. LaClair said shes just glad to see there are other people concerned for the animals.
Im glad to see that there is still an interest in these animals and Im not the only one who cares for their well-being.