Breeder Ernest Paragallo, whose farm in upstate New York became the center of allegations over animal neglect claims, was indicted today by a grand jury on 35 counts of animal cruelty.
The indictment, stemming from an April raid by State Police and animal protection officers from the Columbia-Green Humane Society, adds 13 new counts to the 22 counts Paragallo had already been charged with in a local town court in the spring.
Paragallo, who could face up to two years in jail, could not immediately be reached for comment.
“There is no place in Thoroughbred or harness track racing in New York for anyone involved in the callous neglect or mistreatment of horses,” state Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John D. Sabini said in a written statement.
The racing board already stopped Paragallo’s racing privileges on the day of the April farm raid. The board noted that two of his daughters have also since surrendered their owner’s licenses.
“The vast majority of our licensed owners and trainers are truly people who are advocates for equine health and safety,’’ Sabini said.
The abuse occurred at Paragallo’s Center Brook Farm. Animal protection workers took over control of the farm following the raid, when more than two dozen thoroughbred horses were found to be suffering from malnourishment and other neglect.
The charges, announced by Greene County District Attorney Terry Wilhelm, are misdemeanors. Arraignment on the new charges is scheduled for August 18.