Finally, someone in the Thoroughbred industry who has overshadowed her own breeding farm disaster!
A few days ago, we started hearing how a bunch of Ernie Paragallo's horses had been pulled out of the kill pen . "Lisa Leogrande, who operates a boarding and training center in Fulton, N.Y., discovered the Paragallo horses at the kill pen when she saw the horses’ name bands." (At least the shipper was stupid enough to leave those on. Woot! That makes rescuing a lot easier than having to trace a tattoo. Can all of you bottom-feeders who dump horses at New Holland start doing that? That'd be great.)
Paragallo (shown at left) acted suitably remorseful, if not particularly believable. The Paulick Report did a good job of outing him and his long, long history of financial problems.
Well, it got worse.
From the article:
"According to Paragallo, workers at the farm didn't properly care for the horses.
"I guess my guys don't count too great," Paragallo said of his employees. "I was told only a couple were skinny from my help. That's my f--- up. It's my responsibility. My bad management."
Perez, however, said the workers "were doing a fine job with what they have. They did supply proper water, care and they seemed a bit relieved when we got there."
So now it comes back to what I've said before. 177 horses don't starve in a vaccuum. There were employees on this farm who knew what those horses looked like. Surely there were some visitors...farriers, vets, even delivery people. How many of those people bothered to file a report. Any?
As for old Ernie, yes, he wasn't at the farm. He was at the track a whopping TWO HOUR drive away. Oh, poor you! You couldn't possibly be expected to drive a whole 130 miles and check on your 177 horses.
(How many times do I have to say it...do the math. Very, very few people can pay to feed 177 horses. Even in a state where hay and grain are cheap, that's a minimum of $17,700 a month JUST for feed. Not even counting vet and farrier. How many people truly DO have that money? When you see 177 horses in one place with one owner, you'd better be checking up on their welfare...frequently.)
Very good editorial about Paragallo repeatedly swerving his responsibilities and continuing to train horses.
I think the reason people don't report is that it seems like there's nothing that can be done. You have to realize, it took 3 years of people reporting Dean Solomon up here for action to be taken. It is not going to be a quick process and it's highly likely horses are going to die during the process, as they did at Dean's. I know it is frustrating! But when you throw your hands in the air and say, nothing will be done, I'm not going to bother, that's how this stuff happens. Report - even if nothing happens at the time, it helps so much to show a pattern of behavior later that will result in an actual prosecution and not a wrist-slap.
And hey - he got in trouble for starving his horses two years ago, too! The story is so familiar. This is a pattern of abuse. Abuse is the norm for him. At left is a horse called Pass the Pie - top is how he came out of Ernie's, bottom is after rehab.
Ernie, your claims of innocence are ludicrous. You have been keeping your horses this way for a very long time and you've gotten away with it. You clearly are not hurting for money - you just have too many. Why didn't you sell off half so you could feed the rest? Why? Why? Why?
Why? Well, in his own way, Ernie's as much of a hoarder as some 62 year old lady trying to feed 16 horses off her SSI check. Ernie thinks he's better than that, but he's not. The end result is the same - starving horses and an owner who seems completely delusional about the fact that they are starving. I scream about people whose horses are starving while they still have a Nintendo, a quad and a plasma TV, but holy crap, how much shit does Ernie have that he COULD have sold to feed these horses? He's NOT THAT BROKE. He's still actively racing. He just didn't care...and that's disgusting.
Another Chance 4 Horses has some of the horses and the ASPCA is caring for the rest. More pics on the AC4H site. Kudos to all of those who have stepped in to help these horses, and hope some of you who are looking for a new prospect this year will consider them if/when they are released for adoption.