EASTON, Conn. Paul Vittorio, owner of Pee Wee Horse Farm in Easton, pleaded not guilty to six counts of animal cruelty charges in Bridgeport Superior Court on Tuesday.
Vittorios plea stems from a three-month investigation by the state Animal Control Division after receiving a complaint from a former client of Vittorio. The complainant, Karen Rasmussen of Wilton, suspected possible animal cruelty and recorded a video of a horse named Blackie at the farm and sent it to Animal Control.
On that video , Blackie, who appears to have trouble walking, looks emaciated as he scours for food. Within a few days of receiving the video in October, officers arrived at the farm to investigate.
Upon their arrival, according to an affidavit by the state, several horses at the farm appeared emaciated, in poor health and with little to no shelter. In December, five horses were seized from the farm, three of which were euthanized a month later.
Vittorio was arrested and charged with six counts of animal cruelty in late January.
According to Ray Connors, supervisor for the state Animal Control Division, a pretrial hearing will be held April 3. The two remaining horses, Blackie and Dusty, are in the care of the state and are living in a barn at the York Correctional Facility in Niantic, Connors said.
Blackie is doing well and Dusty is fine, Connors said. In fact, Dusty should be shedding his winter coat any day now."
Part of animals' care cost is offset for by the Animal Abuse Cost Recovery Account, which runs solely on donations. Donations can be made by check to the Animal Abuse Cost Recovery Account, Department of Agriculture, 165 Capital Ave., Hartford, CT 06106.
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