The owner of an Old Westbury farm full of debris, manure and slimy water was arraigned Tuesday on 25 counts of animal neglect after investigators found starved and injured animals, the Nassau County district attorney's office said.
The animals -- seven horses, three donkeys, eight goats, one sheep, two geese, two rabbits and two dogs -- were in poor health and living in unsafe, dirty conditions at Merin Farm, owned by Michael Dombek, 54, prosecutors said.
Following a judge's order, several horses and donkeys with leg wounds or rib cages showing were seized, prosecutors said.
Dombek was released on his own recognizance Tuesday after being arraigned on 25 misdemeanor counts of failure to provide proper sustenance.
Authorities dropped off emergency supplies of food and released a photo of a part of a wooden fence they believe had been chewed up by hungry animals.
Neighbors' complaints had prompted authorities to visit, including the surprise inspection made Tuesday, prosecutors said.
"Our investigators found these defenseless animals with ribs showing from malnutrition, infected hooves from filthy living conditions, and water covered in slime," said Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Dombek's attorney, Howard Arber of Hempstead, said Tuesday his client has had the animals for some time after rescuing them, including ones slated for slaughter. "They've been under constant care by a veterinarian," Arber said. "They are rescue animals that my client feels very strongly about and we believe the charges are groundless . . . The animals are properly fed and properly taken care of."
Authorities said the farm will be cleaned and all the animals will get care under the supervision of the court-ordered monitor, an equine expert from the Nassau County Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals.