After receiving many anonymous complaints in recent months about a particular property on Emery Road, East Aurora, the SPCA Serving Erie County were unable to proceed with action because little can be done without signed statements, and most of the complaints related to issues where were not illegal. However, in the week before 18th March, the SPCA received the information it needed to obtain a warrant and legally enter the property and rescue the animals. The rescue was made possible by the assistance of horse lovers from the surrounding area who were willing to give up a whole day to assist in the relocation of over 70 horses.
Talking after the rescue on the 19th March, Lindsey Styborksi, SPCA Cruelty Investigator and licensed NYS peace officer said, “Some of the images I saw yesterday will never leave my mind. If they were residing in any kind of acceptable conditions, of course it would have been easier to leave them, give the owner time to clean up, monitor the efforts, and inspect regularly until the animals were in a clean environment. But when I saw what these animals were living in, when I saw what they looked like, there was just no way…any animal lover would feel the way I felt and would do whatever it takes…however long it takes…to help them."
Describing the conditions the horses were living in, SPCA Director of Public Relations Gina Browning said that the phrase ‘unsanitary conditions’ was not adequate, "We entered the housing structures and laid eyes on these beautiful animals caked in excrement, trying to stand in the piles of feces covering the floors of their stalls, all the while trying to drink and eat substances also covered in waste. All we could focus on was getting the animals out of there. According to reports we’ve received, these horses allegedly rarely or never received time outside of their stalls."
All horses rescued are in SPCA custody at an undisclosed location where immediate medical needs are being provided. The dogs and cats from the property are being cared for at the SPCA’s Tonawanda shelter and are being medically and behaviorally evaluated. Animal cruelty charges are pending against the owner of the property.