NORTHFIELD — The caretaker of Southwick’s Farm and one of his clients were arrested on charges of animal cruelty in connection to the alleged mistreatment of five horses on the farm, police Sgt. Michael Hutchinson said.
Caretaker Harold Kelley, 58, of Laconia, was charged Tuesday with two counts of animal cruelty and Joanie Osgood, 56, of Concord, who boarded three horses at the farm, is charged with three counts of animal cruelty that accuse her of not caring for or properly feeding her animals, Hutchinson said.
Police went to the farm April 25 and found five horses living in alleged unhealthy conditions in a dilapidated barn on the 85 Zion Hill Road property of 90-year-old Bert Southwick, who delivered eggs to local residents by horse-drawn cart for 75 years, before recently retiring because of declining health.
“Some of these horses hadn’t been out of the barn in three years; no sunlight, no nothing,” Hutchinson said.
Police have said Southwick was not responsible for the care of the animals and that he will face no charges.
Kelley previously told the New Hampshire Union Leader that he was overwhelmed by the responsibility of looking after the farm on his own, in addition to holding down a full-time job, which led to conditions inside the barn deteriorating.
Hutchinson said he agreed with Kelley’s description, but that it didn’t absolve him of the duty to care for the animals.
“He got in over his head and it affected the health of the horses,” Hutchinson said.
Kelley and Osgood were released on personal recognizance bail and are scheduled to appear at 8:15 a.m. Aug. 25 in Franklin Circuit Court, Hutchinson said.
When the animals were rescued and taken to Live and Let Live Farm two months ago, police had asked the public for donations to help pay for the horses’ care.
“The horses are still getting medical attention,” he said.
More information on how to donate can be found at liveandletlivefarm.org or by phone at 798-5615.