Closing arguments delivered in Paragallo animal abuse trial

CATSKILL, N.Y. — Closing arguments were delivered Friday in the animal abuse trial of a well-known thoroughbred horse breeder.

Ernie Paragallo is facing 33 counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring his 177 horses. The animals were seized from the breeder's property, the Center Brook Farm in Climax, last April. Prosecutors described the animals as emaciated and lice infested. Several had to be put down.

At one point during the proceedings in Greene County court, District Attorney Terry Wilhelm made the claim that Paragallo severely cut back on grain for 6 months, even as a farm hand asked for more.

Taking the stand Thursday, Paragallo defended his treatment of the animals, saying they were in racing form and supposed to be thinner.

Paragallo, who resides in Long Island, has admitted to mismanaging the farm, but contends that he was never made aware of the deplorable conditions and had not been there for eight months prior to the raid.

The judge will hand down a verdict on all 33 misdemeanor counts against him next week.

If convicted, Paragallo could face up to 2 years in jail and $35,000 in fines.

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