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May 19, 2010

The HSUS Applauds Animal Cruelty Sentence Given Convicted New York Horse-Racing Mogul

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the sentencing Tuesday of convicted New York horse-racing mogul Ernie Paragallo, who received a maximum sentence of two years in jail and a $33,000 fine.

Paragallo was convicted earlier this year on 33 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty for allowing his thoroughbred horses to become severely emaciated on his farm in upstate New York. Several of the horses were too ill to recover, and had to be euthanized.

"This case involved serious equine neglect by an owner who profited handsomely from his involvement in the world of horse racing," said Keith Dane, The HSUS' director of equine protection. "While there is no punishment that can make up for the loss of life and severe suffering at the hands of this neglectful owner, we are grateful that Judge George J. Pulver Jr. recognized the severity of the cruelty inflicted by Paragallo. Hopefully, this case will send a strong message that animal abuse will not go unpunished.

"We hope this conviction will be a wake-up call for all horse owners who profit from their participation in the horse industry — that they have a responsibility to provide humane treatment and adequate care for their animals, even after their horses have stopped generating an income or been of use to the owner."

The HSUS calls on the court to order that Paragallo pay full restitution to animal-control officials in Greene County who oversaw the care of the horses following the May 2009 raid on Paragallo's farm. We also call on the New York Racing and Wagering Board to permanently bar Paragallo from all New York racetracks and from holding a racing license in the state, and to apply any civil fines applicable under its regulations for the animal-cruelty charges brought by the Greene County district attorney.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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