Horse responsibilities debated by Essex County board

— Scozzafava said he felt the county should not be solely responsible for the bill.

“We have dealt with everything from goats to gerbils in my town,” he said. “We need to clearly identify what is the towns’ responsibility and what is the county responsibility. When you look at that county budget, there are a lot of things that we are doing for the towns, including mine, which really should be something that the towns are doing for themselves.”

Palmer said the county is working civilly to get compensation from Wing to care for the horses. He said if she cannot pay for their care, the horses could become property of the county.

“Once the judge makes a determination this person cannot come up with the funds to take care of the horses, then we can begin the process of adoption and that cannot be appealed,” he said.

Douglas said the county is working through several agencies, including ASPCA, to secure grant monies.

“There is a very good possibility because of the grant funding that is available, we should be able to secure enough that would make it so it would not cost this county one dime in the end,” Douglas said.

There was also debate over hiring a person to care for the horses and lead volunteer efforts.

“I agree these horses need to be cared for,” Scozzafava said, “but how many years have I been trying to get help through social services for these apartments where children are living in pig styes and they will not agree to do it. Then look at everything that we are doing for these horses. It’s frustrating.”

“What we are looking for is someone to organize the volunteers,” Palmer said. “We are looking for someone experienced enough to make sure that everything is being done right. We felt like we had reached the point where we need to stop asking for volunteers and start getting someone in with experience.”

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