Horse conditions anger residents

August 5, 2008 4:02:20 PM PDT
A case of suspected animal abuse has the attention of authorities in South Jersey. "It's inhumane the way that they're being treated and I feel neglected," Maggie Payne of Springfield Township said.

Springfield Township residents are complaining about conditions at the DMS Farm on Arney's Mount Road where they say retired thoroughbred horses are living in deplorable conditions.

"Skin and bones. skin and bones. It's horrible, horse after horse after horse. They were all skinny, bones showing hips protruding from their skin,' Marco Graziano of Springfield Township said.

Neighbors also complain that a rickety single-rail fence is not sturdy enough so the horses have escaped more than once. And they say the hungry animals stretch their heads under the fence to find grass to eat.

"A one rail fence really doesn't keep the horses out so until the fence is improved we'll continually have horses on our property," Al Payne of Springfield said.

The owner of the horses, North Jersey insurance executive Patrick Nelson, confirmed to Action News he is facing SPCA charges for failing to provide food to his horses, but called those charges "total nonsense". He says they are fed more than the recommended amount of hay every day.

The owner of DMS Farm, Dominick Schina of Vorhees, wouldn't go on camera and would not let us on the property. He says providing food to the horses is his tenant Patrick Nelson's responsibility. Schina denies his fences are in disrepair.

Neighbors say they've complained for years and even though the authorities are involved they say they don't see any real improvement in how the horses are being treated.

"I don't know a lot about horses, but I do know it can't be right what they're doing," Tricia Morin of Springfield said.

Attempts to reach the SPCA were unsuccessful, but neighbors say animal welfare officers continue checking on the horses.

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