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Farmers Market suspends farm over investigation

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Posted at 11:36 AM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 07:04:45-05

The Elmwood Village Farmers Market has suspended their use of the Painted Meadow farms following an animal cruelty investigation and charges.

The Market released a statement about the issue on Thursday, saying, "The market's Board of Directors is aware of the investigation into Painted Meadow Farm, and for this reason has suspended Painted Meadow from participation in the Elmwood Village Farmers Market pending the outcome of the investigation."

State Police, the American Humane Association and the Cattaraugus County SPCA went to the farm on Elton Road in Farmersville after a complaint from a Cattaraugus County highway employee on Saturday said a horse was down in a field.

7 Eyewitness News has learned there are more than 600 animals on the farm, including sheep, horses, turkeys, chickens and ducks. Investigators are examining the condition of all of the animals.

Donald and Bonnie George have each been charged with two counts of animal cruelty based on the conditions of their barn. Troopers say the owners of the farm are older and there is a possibility that they may not have been able to keep up with the farm work.

Several dogs have been taken away that the SPCA says didn't have proper shelters or licensing. The horse that sparked this 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.

This isn't the first time Bonnie George has been accused of neglect. In 2005, 44 horses were taken from her property for inhumane conditions.

Neighbor Eric Mead said, "There's no shelter for the horses. They're out 24/7 no matter the weather. If it's a blizzard it's just a terrible thing to see."

It is unclear if other animals will be removed, but the SPCA is asking for food donations for the over 600 animals due to this investigation. Call 716-372-8492 for more information on how you can help.

Investigators also checked out a farm owned by the Georges in Erie County, but did not find any signs of abuse.