Couple pleads guilty to abusing 650 animals

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-25 09:58:00-04

A Farmington couple accused of mistreating and neglecting more than 650 animals on their farm has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Donald and Bonnie George, owners of Painted Meadow Farm pleaded guilty Tuesday to two misdemeanor counts each.

In February the SPCA launched an investigation into Donald and Bonnie George after a Cattaraugus County highway employee reported seeing a horse laying down in a field nearly frozen to death. 

Shortly after, a judge issued a "seize in place" order for the Georges' Painted Meadow Farm, and the SPCA took over care for the farm's 650 animals. Those animals included dogs, sheep, horses, turkeys, chickens and ducks.

The horse that sparked the investigation had to be euthanized.

"It [was] just in really bad shape, including the hooves and everything. The feet were bad so he couldn't move," said Cynthia Nupp, an animal cruelty investigator with the Cattaraugus County SPCA.

The remaining animals were later removed from the farm and placed in foster care. Under their plea deal, the Georges' have surrendered ownership rights to those animals and those animals can now be adopted by their foster families.

The Georges will pay nearly $20,000 to the SPCA of Cattaraugus County in restitution.  They will also be placed on the Cattaraugus County Animal Abuse Registry which will prohibit them from  owning, selling or purchasing any animals in Cattaraugus County for a ten-year period. 

The Georges also own a second farm in Erie County. As part of this plea deal, they will have to sell the animals on that farm within 90 days and will not be allowed to manage any farm where animals are kept. They have agreed to undergo mental health evaluations and take a class on animal abuse.