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Couple charged over barn conditions on farm

Posted at 11:02 AM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 11:15:46-05

A couple living on a southern tier farm are facing animal cruelty charges after investigators took a look inside their barn on Wednesday.

State Police, the American Humane Association and the Cattaraugus County SPCA went to a 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.

Click here to see pictures from inside a barn on the property

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.