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It was a typical day for a highway worker, who had been driving a snow plow past a farm in Buffalo, NY when he spotted something very unusual – a horse lying in a field, covered with a blanket. When he went to check on the horse, what he saw shocked him. The blanket on the horse had been frozen to ground and the steed was on the brink of death.

The man contacted officials and while it was too late to save the poor horse, the discovery led to a ghastly animal cruelty investigation at Painted Meadows Farm, known in the area as a vendor of locally raised meats and eggs. Investigators found more than 600 animals, including fowl, horses, goats, sheep, and cattle in the worst conditions imaginable.

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According to a report in The Buffalo News,  volunteers found animal cages encrusted in waste and manure piled so high in stalls that horses were hitting their heads on the ceiling. Bird cages were piled on top of each other and the horses and donkeys were covered in filth with painful, untrimmed hooves. Experts said that nine horses were forced to stand in their stalls for so long that their muscles had completely wasted away. They even found evidence that the animals had been fed with expired cake mix, mayonnaise, and Italian dressing.

Thankfully, justice is now being served as the owners of the farm, Bonnie and Donald George, are facing 24 counts of animal cruelty charges and will head to court next week. Incredibly, this isn’t even the first time the couple has faced animal cruelty charges. In 2006, the SPCA seized more than 40 dogs from their farm but it’s believed they got them all back. We can only hope that the animals discovered on the farm this time will not have the same fate!

In the meantime, veterinarians have been on the scene treating the animals and community members have come together to help clean and care for them. However, with so many animals to care for, neighbors can only do so much. Officials say donations will greatly help provide feed, hay, and comfort to these animals who have lived through the worst. For more information on how you can help, click here.

Thanks to the act of this good samaritan who stopped and pulled over when he saw the ill horse, hundreds of animals have now been saved. If you ever come across an animal in need, call your local police or wildlife center to alert an expert for help. Click here for a list of wildlife hotlines.

 Image source: The Buffalo News

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