Grafton couple in court, accused of not feeding animals

GRAFTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The former owners of three emaciated horses were in court Tuesday facing charges of Failing to Provide Proper Sustenance to Animals.

One of the horses needed to be euthanized, and the other two were found emaciated. The former owners said they were trying to nurse the horses back to health, but the new owner of the two surviving horses said the animals were starved.

“This is a young, married couple with children,” attorney David Gruenberg said. “They love their animals.”

Michael Costello (Rensselaer Co. Sheriff's Office)
Michael Costello (Rensselaer Co. Sheriff’s Office)

Gruenberg said his clients, Michael and Erica Costello, did not neglect their animals. The two have been charged for failing to provide proper sustenance to the horses as well as other animals that have since been removed or purchased off their Grafton property.

The Costellos appeared in Grafton Town Court but refused to answer any of NEWS10 ABC’s questions.

“My people were doing everything they could to make those horses healthy,” Gruenberg said. “They were feeding them. They were treating them with veterinary care.”

But the new caretaker of the two remaining horses said she and another woman bought the horses to try and rescue them.

Erica Costello (Rennselaer Co. Sheriff's Office)
Erica Costello (Rennselaer Co. Sheriff’s Office)

“All pretty badly emaciated,” she said. “We had brought carrots with us. We didn’t find any feed or water on the property.”

The new caretaker said the horses are showing some improvement, though she believes they were starved.

“We’ve had the two remaining horses taken to the vet, and they’re doing very well and they’ve put on weight and there was no cause to be found through blood work as to why they were in such poor condition,” she said.

The Costellos are due back in court in December.

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