Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Salvatore Gandolfo, 55 5 horses seized

Aquebogue, Central Islip, NY

Suffolk County

September 28, 2008  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse
Misdemeanor traffic violations 5 horses Alleged


Suffolk District Court

Five maltreated horses were rescued from a Central Islip property and their owner was arrested, the Suffolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.

Detectives and humane officers from the agency's Emergency Animal Response Team executed a search warrant at 88 Hawthorne Ave. in Central Islip, said Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross.  It was part of an ongoing investigation into the treatment of the five horses, Gross said.

The owner of the horses, Salvatore Gandolfo, of 41 Maplewood Lane, Aquebogue, was arrested at the scene. Charged with five counts of animal cruelty, Gross said.


(Photo's courtesy of James Carbone/Newsday)

Gandolfo was housing the horses at stables on the Central Islip property, Gross said.

Gross would not elaborate on the condition of the horses or how they were mistreated, except that they were in danger of dying. "They're going to need medical attention," he said.

Richard Root, 62, who rents a room in a boardinghouse on the Central Islip property, said he didn't see any signs of the horses being mistreated.

Update 9/29/08:  Gandolfo pleaded not guilty to charges of animal cruelty in Suffolk District Court, not far from where the horses were seized.

Appearing without a lawyer Salvatore Gandolfo, 55, of Aquebogue, pleaded not guilty before Judge Paul M. Hensley. The judge set bail at $10,000 cash, $20,000 bond, citing Gandolfo's previous failure to appear in court for traffic violations.

Gandolfo told the judge he is employed and had gotten a veterinarian to check the horses.

A lawyer for Suffolk SPCA, Herbert Kellner, applied for a bond hearing in court that would require Gandolfo to pay for the horses' veterinary care, feeding and housing.

The case is a bad case of animal abuse, of animal cruelty and neglect," Kellner said outside the courtroom. "Obviously, the horses are in bad enough condition that they needed to be seized by our agency."

Gandolfo is due back in court on Oct. 8.

Update 9/30/08:  Five sickly horses found grossly underweight, some with maggots embedded in their heels, were recovering at the Indian Head Ranch in Huntington as their owner faces animal cruelty charges for what officials called severe and long-term neglect.

Defense lawyer Jason Bassett of Central Islip later said his client planned to post bail. "Mr. Gandolfo is a well-respected member of the equestrian community," Bassett said. "He absolutely denies that these animals were ever harmed in any way by him either by negligence or any intentional act."

In court, Suffolk SPCA lawyer Herbert Kellner applied for a hearing to determine whether Gandolfo should pay a $7,500 fee to care for the horses at the Huntington stable.

At Huntington's Indian Head Ranch, whose owner, Wayne Dougal, took in the ailing horses, they appeared emaciated.  Belle, an Arabian mare, was about 300 pounds underweight, Dougal said. A beige stallion and Teddy, a paint gelding, had maggots in their heels before ranch employees soaked them in diluted bleach, he said.  "The only thing these horses could count on was each other," Dougal said. "These horses should've been taken care of much better than this, because he's in the business."

  (Photo courtesy of the Suffolk County SPCA - Belle the picture was taken the day after she was seized)

  This is the bay mare, with the stallion looking on in the background. This view gives you a fair idea of her weight and condition of her hind legs and hooves.

     The stallion photo and this view of the hindend of the sorrel mare illustrates that point Wayne Dougal made , "You can count almost every bone in their body."

The close-up is of one of the paint gelding's front hooves. It's hard to appreciate the extent of the damage from this one photograph. The hoof is hollow and the frog has been eaten out (presumably by maggots).

Gandolfo's wife & son are listed as a contact on the Windy Meadow Horse Farm website in Calverton, which offers riding lessons and sells horses.

Mitch Prawki, 52, whose Adams Road home is less than 100 yards from the Central Islip stable, said he first complained to Islip Town officials about the conditions at the stables in 2002. "The manure is piling up by the backyard," Prawki said. "Seeing those horses the way they were, something had to be done."

The misdemeanor animal cruelty charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Update 1/6/09:  Four of the "Central Islip Five" are back under the saddle.  Abused horses Belle, Lady, Everett and Teddy have found a home - and only Little Rain is left to be adopted, the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.

Gandolfo relinquished ownership of the horses, authorities said.

Gandolfo is out on $20,000 cash bail and is scheduled to appear in Suffolk District Court on Jan. 12.

Belle will be the third horse for a Smithtown family that rides the trails at Blydenburgh County Park. Lady is going to a Middle Island mother and stepdaughter who want to do more riding together.

Everett is going to a teenager who attends SUNY Cobleskill for equine management.

Teddy had already been adopted by the veterinarian who cared for him.

Little Rain, who is being trained at Indian Head Ranch, still needs a home. Anyone interested in adopting her can call the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722, visit www.suffolkcountyspca.org, or call Dougal at 631-692-0965 or 631-766-3007.


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