Horse Rescue After Abuse and Fraud Charges Against Owner

By Lindsay Nielsen

August 25, 2011 Updated Aug 25, 2011 at 6:49 PM EDT

Cincinnatus, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The arrest of a Guilford woman for animal cruelty and fraud stirs up anger over an alleged financial scheme and mistreatment of horses.

Stephanie Algiere-Hanchett of Guilford solicited funds through a rescue fund called A Ton of Love Draft Horse Rescue.

Chenango County Sheriff's Deputies says she and failed to seek medical care for a number of horses.

The money was intended for the hernia surgery of this two-year-old horse, named Argo.

"They had donated money through facebook and other Internet sites we determined that the horse actually hadn't had the surgery and she was actually collecting money from numerous people for the horse for services that were never provided," says Chenango County Sheriff Ernie Cutting.

In June, Algiere-Hanchett was charged with Scheme to Defraud and Animal Cruelty.

Holly is one of the twelve horses rescued from the property, she was very malnourished and underweight when taken in.

"Holly was in, she was in critical condition, just totally emaciated, couldn't get near the food, they were all fighting for the food," says Traci Baker of High Tech Farms in Cincinnatus.

Baker rescued six horses from the property and six others were rescued by another person.

The Sheriff's office says another horse had died.

Baker was a veterinary technician for 9 years.

She had visited the property often and said the barn was in poor condition.

"She wasn't feeding them, she never got the vet care. She didn't think she was doing anything wrong, and her family kept saying she's not abusing the horses, and they just don't seem to grasp what this is," says Baker.

Last week the Chenango County Sheriff's Office and a veterinarian searched Algiere-Hanchett's property again, after more complaints surfaced.

"It was determined through his investigation that there wasn't food and water at the place he had gone, we obtained a search warrant went back to the resident, when we did go back the next day there was food and water there," says Sheriff Cutting.

The vet said the horses were in good health at that time.

Baker is still worried, and feels she needs to give the animals a voice and attention.

Baker has nursed six horses back to health and already found new homes for most of them.

Algiere Hanchett will appear in the town of Guilford Court on a later date.

The Chenango County Sheriff's Office says around 11-hundred dollars was collected in the fraud scheme.

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