PITTSFORD—In early January the Rutland Humane Society and Spring Hill Horse Rescue contacted the state police for help in investigating a group of emaciated horses being pastured off Kendall Hill Road in the town of Pittsford. Police reported that a humane agent from Spring Hill Horse Rescue found a chestnut mare and a palomino mare in critical condition. Due to the inclement weather and lack of shelter in the pasture, owners, Helen, 48, and David Buzzell, 59, voluntarily moved the two mares to a friend’s warm barn for the night where they both received food, water and medical attention.
Due to the physical condition and class IV heart murmur found in the chestnut mare by the attending veterinarian, the Buzzells decided to humanely euthanize the animal the following morning. The veterinarian advised that the severity of the heart murmur was potentially caused by starvation and dehydration.
On Jan. 20, police investigation revealed that the two mares were acquired by the Buzzells in fall 2015. Investigation suggests that both mares had been used in local horse shows by their previous owner in the summer of 2015 but began to lose significant amounts of weight once in the custody of the Buzzells. All six horses were evaluated by veterinarians and found to be moderately thin to extremely emaciated using the Henneke Body Condition Score. The remaining four horses will stay on the property at this time under the supervision of a local veterinarian.
David and Helen Buzzell were both charged with two counts of aggravated animal cruelty and four counts of animal cruelty violations of Title 13 Vermont Statutes Annotated 352(4) and 352(a). They were cited to appear in Rutland Court on Feb. 29, 2016. No photographs of the horses will be released at this time.