New Berlin (WSYR-TV) - Residents of the rural Chenango County community of New Berlin are still in shock after a 75-year-old man was arrested for shooting six of his neighbor’s horses to death with a 12-guage shotgun.
Residents say the incident is the most brutal they’ve ever witnessed.
An investigation led to the arrest of Lauren L. McMaster on Sunday. The horses were found dead on property near Hunts Pond Road in the town of New Berlin.
"Chenango County is a very rural community and there are a lot of farms and a lot of animals, but we don't often have complaints that come to this type of resolution,” said State Police Capt. James Barnes.
Authorities say the incident was the result of an ongoing dispute between McMaster and his neighbor over horses and cows wandering onto his property.
State Police say troopers had responded to past complaints about the animals wandering onto McMaster's property and at the time, had tried to mediate the dispute.
"There had been previous complaints that were reported to the State Police here at Norwich within the last week prior to the incident occurring and we were in the middle of mediating that dispute,” said Barnes.
McMaster has been charged with six counts each of criminal mischief and cruelty to animals.
McMaster was arraigned in the Town of Columbus Court. He is being held in the Chenango County Jail in lieu of $500 cash or $1,000 bond.