County takes ownership of seized horses

Several seized horses were being kept at the stables at the Essex County Fairgrounds. The stalls were blocked off by police tape on Monday, Sept. 23.

Several seized horses were being kept at the stables at the Essex County Fairgrounds. The stalls were blocked off by police tape on Monday, Sept. 23. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— Ownership of the 41 horses seized from an Essex Farm now lies with Essex County after the owner failed to produce a $43,890 bond for their care while the criminal investigation continues.

Owners Shelley Wing, 59, and her daughter Emily Wing, 20, were unable to produce the bond by 6 p.m. Oct. 8.

“They did not post bond, therefore I signed a forfeiture order turning ownership over to Essex County and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department,” Essex Town Judge Stephen Sayward Jr. said.

The transfer of ownership marks the end of the civil portion of the case though the criminal investigation continues for the Wings. Both Shelley and Emily are charged with 41 counts of animal cruelty for failing to provide sustenance for the 41 horses at their 20-acre Essex farm, On A Wing and A Prayer.

An anonymous tip from a neighbor led members of the Sheriff’s department to the farm where it was discovered the 41 horses, including several foals, living in an area with more horses than allowable per acre. The pastures had little grass and the trees were stripped of their bark. The bones of a deceased horse were also found in the barn.

The horses were seized on Sept. 18 and 19. Many were taken to the Essex County Fairgrounds in Westport while other horses continue to be cared for at private farms. Since the seizure, one of the horses has died.

Shelley was arraigned Sept. 23. Sayward said police attempted to serve Emily on Sept. 26, but were unsuccessful. She was served and arraigned Sept. 27.

The first hearing took place Oct. 7, without either party in attendance. Sayward said a request for both Shelley and Emily was granted that they could refrain from attending the proceedings.

The Wings are due back in court Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

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Native 1 year, 9 months ago

While we realize your paper supports the huge law enforcement presence in the area , including the secret ADK task force, Even the most pro GOP right winger would say fair is fair. The DEC officer who shot his neighbors dog is guilty of being a bad person who is getting the benefit of friends in high places.Any one else would be arrested!!!!

This is standard up here with the ESSEXcounty jail being filled with low income folks being locked up for non violence . Homeland security incredibly was in this paper awarding the   County Jail,unbelivable.     Here  is your upstate justice,   Its scary the two sets of standards on the same outcome!!!!       Unlimited budgets unlimited lies!




Native 1 year, 9 months ago


Please advise how a Known DEC cop can conceal ,kill, bury, two neighbors dog with a name tag and not one charge. ???? Especially with all of the animal concern.

Did you know FBI profilers call animal cruelty a precursor to much worse crime and or secret concealed behavior.


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