Video of a mistreated horse at Pee Wee Horse Farm in Easton, Conn., has gone viral. The horse, called Blackie, is one of five horses formerly owned by 75-year-old Appollonio Vittorio who was arrested last month for animal cruelty.
The video, which has angered animals lovers on a global scale, was taken by Karen Rasmussen last October, prior to the horses being seized. It is now being used as evidence to step-up cruelty charges against Vittorio.
The video is heartbreaking, as it shows an emaciated Blackie, one of five horses taken into state care, desperately searching for food. His agony is clear as he struggles to walk. Severely malnourished, Blackie's cropped mane and manure-caked tail, show signs of the brittleness often associated with starvation. His gaunt appearance, is testimony to the only thing he can find to eat, ground cover or weeds.
Each tender-footed step is agonizing for the horse, and at one point he stumbles painfully, but manages to keep his feet. Blackie was one of five horses seized by the state said News 8, three of which were so sick, they had to be euthanized.
Animal control had been called to the farm on several occasions by concerned parties worried about Vittorio's animals. When issued warnings that his horses needed medical attention, Vittorio allegedly responded, "nobody's going to tell me what to do".
Vittorio, appeared before a judge in Bridgeport Superior Court on Tuesday and will be back in court March 06, to face six counts of animal cruelty. According to the state's filed report, charges include allegations of poor condition, eye problems, overgrown teeth, skin problems and skin infections such as rain rot. Animal Control said that if found guilty, Vittorio faces six years behind bars.
The five rescued horses, are currently being boarded at the York Correctional Facility in Niantic, where prisoners are taking care of them under state supervision.