A man has been arrested after more than a dozen horses were killed during an arson attack at a racetrack and casino complex in New York.
Boyd H Fenton, 32, was arrested Nov. 9 in connection with a 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 it on fire, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, according to New York State Police.
A GoFundMe page, set up to support the equestrian community, described the incident as an “unthinkable loss”.
“Tioga Downs suffered an unimaginable loss this morning as many horse riders lost horses, possessions 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 Knight community what we can do to help in this time of need.”
As of Wednesday, the page had raised more than $175,000.
Jessica Hallett, a member of the community, said the media had “dropped the ball” when reporting on the tragedy and the deaths of the animals.
“They write them as just numbers and just horses. As if it were property. They had stories and lives. They were part of something much bigger and deserved to be recognized as such,” he wrote on Facebook.
In a statement, Jeff Gtu-al, President of American Racing and Entertainment, said: “We are deeply saddened by today's tragedy, it was a loss that no one could have imagined or expected.
“It is an active investigation so we are unable to comment further at this time. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the first responders who came to our aid. We have a great community and we're honored to be a part of it.”
Police said that during the incident, another person, who had entered the burning barn in an attempt to save horses, suffered second-degree burns and was taken to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment.
Mr. Fenton was arraigned Nov. 9 and remanded to the Tioga County Correctional Facility. The investigation is ongoing.
“The New York State Police would like to extend their condolences to the affected individuals and families who lost their beloved animals during this tragic incident,” the police statement added.