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3 Horses Seized From Easton Farm Were Euthanized

EASTON, Conn. – Three of the five horse seized from Easton’s Pee Wee Horse Farm have been euthanized, according to Ray Connors, supervisor for the state Animal Control Division.

“We tried to do what we could. … It was a hard decision, and one that was based on the best quality of life to give these horses,” Connors said Wednesday.

Blackie, Bucky, Cassie, Goldie and Dusty were the names of the horses taken from the Silver Hill Road farm by state officers in December during an animal cruelty investigation. Blackie and Dusty are the only survivors.

Although Connors did not comment as to which horse was put down when, he said, “One was euthanized three weeks ago, and two others were euthanized almost two weeks ago by a state veterinarian.”

According to Connors, Blackie and Dusty are thriving under state care at the York Correctional Facility in Niantic, where prisoners take care of the horses under state supervision. “Blackie is doing fantastic; you wouldn’t know it’s the same horse,” Connors said. As for Dusty, “He’s doing fine. He really just needed a little TLC.”

The state Animal Control Department had been investigating Pee Wee Horse Farm owner Paul Vittorio, 75, for several months after receiving a complaint from Wilton resident Karen Rasmussen in mid-October. Included in her complaint was a video allegedly of Blackie at the farm in October, who is seen emaciated, limping and scouring for food.

Rasmussen also signed a sworn statement to the state, which was obtained by The Daily Easton, that said she leased two horses from Vittorio between June and November 2011. During that time, she witnessed “many of his horses throughout the farm were losing weight.” She also said the horses' living quarters were dirty and they lacked adequate food, veterinarian care and water.

“Water was a big issue throughout the summer. The water truck broke down constantly, and at least several times a week, we would have to haul water down to our horses from the well pump. The water buckets were rarely, if ever cleaned out. Apparently winter was a nightmare last year, and Paul’s response to frozen water was, 'They can eat snow,'” the statement reads.

The investigation led to the arrest of Vittorio, who is facing six counts of animal cruelty charges. He appeared before a judge in Bridgeport Superior Court on Tuesday, and the case was continued to March 6.

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