08/20/2009 12:00AM

New York fund adopts cruelty measure


The New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund passed a resolution at a board meeting on Thursday morning that will allow the fund to freeze any monetary distributions to a breeder who has been charged with animal cruelty, according to officials of the fund.

The resolution was adopted as a response to the arrest in April of Ernie Paragallo, an upstate

breeder-owner who was eventually charged with 35 counts of animal cruelty based on the alleged conditions of dozens of horses on his Center Brook Farm in Climax, N.Y., according to Joe Mahoney, a spokesman for the fund. Under the resolution, the fund can block the distribution of any monies earned by a breeder until the charges are resolved, and, if the breeder is found guilty, can disqualify the awards, Mahoney said.

Paragallo had earned awards from the program over the past ten years that put him in the "top 10" of earners, according to Martin Kinsella, the executive director of the fund.

Also at the meeting, the board's chairman, John Sabini asked the fund to form a subcommittee to study whether employees of the fund could report on the conditions of horses at farms they visit.

The fund currently employs two people to visit all 400 farms that are eligible to win awards in order to monitor whether stallion and mare owners comply with registry requirements, Kinsella said, but those employees do not have any regulatory or enforcement powers.