Over two dozen horses killed in New York arson attack

A man has been arrested after over two dozen horses were killed during an arson attack on a racetrack and casino complex in New York.

Boyd H Fenton, 32, was arrested on November 9 in connection with the fire at a barn structure at the Tioga Downs Casino complex.

Mr Fenton, of Athens, Pennsylvania, was charged with arson, burglary, criminal mischief and assault. He entered the barn and intentionally set a fire, causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, according to the New York State Police.

A GoFundMe page, set up to support the horsemen’s community, described the incident as an “unimaginable loss”.

“Tioga Downs suffered an unimaginable loss this morning as many horsemen lost horses, belongings and years of memories in a tragic barn fire,” the page’s description read.

“This place is home to many of us. Every little bit counts. Let’s show them as a Horsemen’s community, what we can do to help in this time of need.”

As of Wednesday, the page had raised over $175,000.

Jessica Hallett, a member of the community, said the media had “dropped the ball” when reporting on the tragic incident and the deaths of the animals.

“They write them as just numbers and just horses. As if they were property. They had stories and lives. They were a part of something so much bigger and deserved to be recognized as such,” she wrote on Facebook.

In a statement, Jeff Gtu-al, Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment, said: “We are deeply saddened by today’s tragedy, it was a loss no one could have imagined or expected.

The fire was started at the Tioga Downs Casino resort complex in New York (WETM 18 News)
The fire was started at the Tioga Downs Casino resort complex in New York (WETM 18 News)

“It is an active investigation so we are not able to comment any further at this time. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for all of the first responders who rushed to our aid. We have a wonderful community and we are honored to be a part of it.”

Police said that during the incident, another individual, who had entered the burning barn in an attempt to save horses suffered second-degree burns and was transported to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment.

Mr Fenton was arraigned before a judge on 9 November and remanded to the Tioga County Correctional Facility. The investigation is ongoing.

“The New York State Police would like to offer condolences to affected individuals and families that lost their beloved animals during this tragic incident,” the police statement added.