Conn. polo club owner charged with animal cruelty

ctFARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The Farmington Polo Club is currently home to about a half a dozen horses. Neighbors say the club used to board, groom, feed, and take care of the animals, but police have now arrested the current owner, Claude Brouillard, for cruelty to an animal.

Police say one of the horses got loose last month and ended up in the middle of Town Farm Road, then a woman came around the bend and hit it. A neighbor, who doesn’t want to be identified, was there.

“You could see that the horse was way more injured than originally thought, and an officer had to put it down right there,” said the neighbor. “It was pretty bad.”

Witnesses say the horse got through a piece of broken fencing, onto the road, and was struck on a bend. After police put the animal down, a neighbor dragged the horse to the side of the road, out of the way of traffic.

As the investigation moves forward, we tried to talk to Brouillard and his family. They did not want to comment at this time, but say they will talk to us once the criminal case has wrapped up.

“It’s a shame,” said the neighbor. “I know the woman who hit the horse was very upset and distraught.”

“Somebody driving a small car could get killed if they hit it just right,” she said.

Police say this isn’t the first time a horse has gotten loose from the club. There have been a total of seven complaints about the health and welfare of the horses since 2011. The neighbor says it happens a lot, and even snapped a photo of a horse on the road two years ago.

“I can remember at least four or five times that I had to call personally because I saw them out running, galloping down the street without adults even realizing that they were missing,” said the unidentified woman. “They were just out on the road.”

Police say that when they went to the barns they didn’t find any edible hay for the horses, so more charges may be filed.