From horses to hamsters, dozens of dying animals found at New Hampton home, police say

  • Bristol the racehorse is shown the night before her death after police seized dozens of animals from a New Hampton home. Edith Daughen and Nicholas Torrey were each charged with 44 counts of animal cruelty. — Courtesy Live and Let Live Farm

  • Dozens of animals were taken from a home in New Hampton by police. Edith Daughen and Nicholas Torrey were each charged with 44 counts of animal cruelty. — Courtesy Live and Let Live Farm

  • Dozens of animals were taken from a home in New Hampton by police. Edith Daughen and Nicholas Torrey were each charged with 44 counts of animal cruelty. — Courtesy Live and Let Live Farm

  • Dozens of animals were taken from a home in New Hampton by police. Edith Daughen and Nicholas Torrey were each charged with 44 counts of animal cruelty. Here, Bristol the horse’s atrophied muscles are shown. Physically, her condition was rated a 1, anything less would be considered dead. The next day, she was euthanized.  — Courtesy Live and Let Live Farm

  • Dozens of animals were taken from a home in New Hampton by police. Edith Daughen and Nicholas Torrey were each charged with 44 counts of animal cruelty. Bristol the horse, whoch later died, is shown healthy, when she was first taken in by Daughen. — Courtesy Live and Let Live Farm

  • Edith Daughen and Nicholas Torrey, of New Hampton, were each charged with 44 counts of animal cruelty.

  • Edith Daughen and Nicholas Torrey, of New Hampton, were each charged with 44 counts of animal cruelty.

Monitor staff
Published: 8/11/2018 12:45:48 PM

The frail brown racehorse labored on her side hours after being pulled from the mud, her atrophied muscles and irregular heartbeat preventing her from finding her feet.

Sharon Morey, a volunteer with Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester, took in the horse from its New Hampton home and named her Bristol – a signal that she would have a clean slate and a shot at a new life.

Morey sat with Bristol all night, keeping her covered with blankets, wetting her mouth, speaking to her softly, telling her it wasn’t her fault.

In the morning, her heartbeat racing and increasingly irregular, Bristol was euthanized. Morey was shattered.

“For those 12 hours, she was shown dignity, love and respect, all the things she didn’t get when she was neglected,” Morey said.

The owner of the horse, Edith Daughen, claimed to be running an animal rescue organization. When police went to the New Hampton home at the end of July, they found dozens of animals, from horses to hamsters, dead or dying.

Last week, police charged Daughen, 28, and her husband, Nicholas Torrey, 30, with 44 counts each of animal cruelty and one count each of unlicensed sale of a pet, police said.

“(Daughen) made herself sound so good, anyone would want to give her their animals,” said Teresa Paradis, manager of Live and Let Live Farm.

Once animals got to Daughen’s home, Paradis said, there’s little evidence they received any sanctuary.

“She had animals starving around her and she kept taking in more,” Paradis said.

Police and a veterinarian from the state Department of Agriculture found a dead snake and a dead bird; both had either starved to death or died of extreme dehydration, police and rescuers said.

In addition, they found dogs, cats, reptiles, rabbits, birds and other animals in various states of malnourishment. Most had no food and none had water, said New Hampton police Detective Joshua Tyrrell.

Most of those animals wound up at Live and Let Live Farm and will be available for adoption once they are nursed back to health.

Paradis didn’t express much sympathy for Daughen.

“She had animals dying in front of her that she could not feed, but she was still advertising herself as an animal rescuer,” Paradis said.

One of the rescued animals was a baby parrot that Daughen had recently taken in. It needed to be fed formula by hand, which is expensive, Paradis said.

Instead of taking in a new bird, Daughen should have bought food for the one that was starving to death in its cage, Paradis said.

People can certainly run out of money to feed their animals, but options exist. Live and Let Live offers a food bank for owners who can’t afford to feed their animals.

“She knew about us, so there’s no excuse,” Paradis said.

Daughen could have brought the horses out of their barren pens to graze on the grass and leaves in the yard. She could have given greens to the hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs in her care, Paradis said.

More troubling to Paradis was the lack of water for any of the animals.

“It wouldn’t cost them anything to turn their faucet on,” Paradis said.

Bristol was one of two horses taken from the home. The other horse, named Lulu, was younger and smaller and in better health. Bristol was so emaciated that she collapsed in the trailer on the way to Live and Let Live.

She had an irregular heart rate of 60 beats per minute, which was already a little high, when she arrived at the farm. The next morning, the rate had risen to 130 beats per minute with a severe murmur. She had total muscular atrophy and farm volunteers determined she was too far gone to be saved.

“Watching them and holding them, when they die, that’s really difficult,” Morey said.

The retired racehorse was given to Daughen when it was still healthy, maybe even a little overweight. When she was taken away, after being stuck in the mud for hours, maybe even days, her physical condition was rated at 1, Paradis said.

“Anything less than 1 is dead,” Paradis said.

Morey and Paradis could tell the horse’s age – 17 years old – along with its original name, Forestina, because the information was tattooed on her.

“For a horse’s life, that’s pretty much her prime,” Morey said. “She had a lot of life left, and that was taken from her.”

Morey was so upset the next morning when Bristol was gone, she took to the internet to search for more clues. That’s when she discovered Daughen had been advertising herself as an animal rescue.

Daughen had posted that she was running an organization called the White Gates Critter Sanctuary. She said she would take in “any animal that needs help or a home.” Daughen asked for donations and said she was working on becoming a bona fide nonprofit.

What Daughen called an animal rescue was totally unlicensed, Detective Tyrrell said.

“They weren’t supposed to be doing that,” he said.

Morey and Paradis knew other animals were probably in trouble and reported their findings back to police.

Morey, who has volunteered for 17 years at Live and Let Live, said she tries to think of Bristol as an ambassador that gave her life to save the other animals.

“If I wasn’t so upset and moved by her death, the other animals would have wasted away,” she said.

After Bristol’s death, Morey posted a message on social media for Daughen and Torrey.

“In the last 12 hours I held your horse in the fight for her life. In the last 12 hours I watched feeling helpless to make this better. In the last 12 hours I warmed her, wet her mouth and covered her in blankets. In the last 12 hours a team of us worked so very hard for her. In the last 12 hours I wondered over and over how this possibly happens, and why it happens so much. In the last 12 hours I gave her comfort. In the last 12 hours I Gave her love. In the last 12 hours I gave her dignity. In the last 12 hours I feel broken and deeper in my resolve,” she said. “I didn’t create this but here we are, left to clean it up. In the last 12 hours I gave her her life back. Run free sweet girl.”

Daughen and Torrey are scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 18.

(Jonathan Van Fleet can be reached at 369-3303, jvanfleet@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @CMonitor_JVF.)




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