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Farm couple pleads guilty in neglect case involving 650 animals in Cattaraugus County

The former owners of Painted Meadow Farm in Farmersville have pleaded guilty to animal neglect and failure to provide proper food or drink to an impounded animal, resolving the mishandling of 650 animals on the farm uncovered during a raid Feb. 25.

The guilty plea was made Tuesday in Farmersville Town Court.

Under the deal, Donald and Bonnie George were granted one-year conditional discharges, and ordered to pay the Cattaraugus County SPCA $19,869 and attend at least one session of a course on animal abuse awareness run by SPCA Serving Erie County, where they also operate a farm.

They also were ordered to surrender all animals seized after the February raid on their Cattaraugus County farm and register with the county Animal Abuse Registry.

Also as part of the deal, the Georges are prohibited from owning or caring for animals in any jurisdiction for at least one more year.

Officials of the Cattaraugus County SPCA were consulted during the plea talks and were agreeable to the final disposition, according to District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman, who noted that the SPCA and volunteers are making arrangements for adoption of the animals.

The Georges were initially charged with two dozen misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty after investigators found neglected and malnourished animals at Painted Meadows Farm, where horse stalls were piled so high with manure that horses were hitting their heads on the ceiling and animal cages were encrusted in waste.

After the raid, the Georges, who have been married for more than 47 years, sold the farm in Farmersville and purchased one in Brant.