The owners of 32 horses, 78 chickens, several rabbits and two dogs seized from Fairy Tail Equine in East Hampton in February have been charged with dozens of counts of animal cruelty.
East Hampton police arrested Thomas Olajos, 36, and his wife, Melanie Olajos, 37, on Friday after an investigation by animal control officers from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.
The couple is accused of failing to provide proper food, water, veterinary care and shelter to the animals.
They were each charged with 35 counts of cruelty to animals – 32 counts for each of the horses seized and the other four counts stemming from the alleged mistreatment of two dogs, 19 rabbits and 78 chickens removed from Fairy Tail Equine on Feb. 2.
A veterinarian determined that the horses were neglected and underweight, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
Many of the horses also had active lice infestation, had dermatitis and fecal material caked on their tails and legs. Officials said their manes and tails were matted and tangled.
The two dogs, both Great Danes, were so emaciated that their ribs, vertebrae and pelvic bones were visible, officials said.
One dog also had fleas, calluses on both elbows, excessive discharge in its ears, whipworms, profuse diarrhea and anemia.
The other dog, a 1-year-old old female, was underweight and also had fleas, conjunctivitis, and excessive discharge from both ears. The condition of the teeth suggested that the dog might have been chewing on rocks and dirt, officials said.
The chickens were underweight and malnourished when seized and most had little or no access to water.
Necropsies on three that were found dead during the seizure showed little content in their stomachs, minimal fat, skin lesions and intestinal perforation consistent with aggression and cannibalism.
Officials said 10 chickens also in poor condition were found in a cage in the Olajos’ house. Rabbits, found in cages throughout the house did have water and food available, but the animals and the cages were dirty, officials said.
Both Olajos were released on $10,000 non-surety bonds and are scheduled to appear in Middletown Superior Court on March 15.
Officials said state police also arrested Thomas Olajos, who is accused of issuing a bad check to a farm in Woodbury. He was released on a $1,000 non-surety bond in that case.
A Superior Court judge granted the state temporary custody of the animals on March 1 and the horses – mainly Friesians, Andalusians, and Gypsy Vanners -- are being cared for at the state Department of Agriculture’s large animal rehabilitation facility in Niantic, and the other animals are at various municipal shelters in the state.
The department plans to seek formal custody of the animals at a Hartford Superior Court hearing scheduled for March 8.
Anyone who wants to donate to the care and feeding of the animals should y make a contribution to the department’s Animal Abuse Cost Recovery Account.