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New Berlin man accused of shooting, killing six of his neighbor's horses released on bail

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

NEW BERLIN, N.Y. (WKTV) - A New Berlin man accused of killing six horses that belonged to his neighbor, has now been released on bail from the Chenango County Jail.

New York State Police say Lauren McMaster, 75, of New Berlin was charged with six counts of criminal mischief in the second-degree and six counts of cruelty to animals.

McMaster lives next to the horse owner's property on Hunts Pond Road which has many other horses and cows. Police say McMaster and the neighbor do have a history of confrontation and that McMaster filed a complaint about a week ago about the animals.

"I can tell you that we were called by the defendant on two prior occasions in the last week about the animals on his property," says Captain James Barnes of New York State Police Troop "C." "We responded to those. At that point we were attempting to mediate the dispute between two property owners. The matter was still unresolved from when this happened."

The deceased horses were found on the owner's property but authorities believe most of the horses were shot on the defendant's property.

"We believe that at the time, they were shot, at least five of the six were, on the defendant's property," Captain Barnes said. "We believe the sixth animal may have been shot on the owner's property."

State Police would not comment on the condition of the horses when they were discovered by the owner owner.

"We don't believe he had an accomplice involved in the shooting aspect of this," Captain Barnes said. "However, we are still looking into other possibilities."

McMaster was arraigned in the Town of Columbus court and was released from the Chenango County Jail on $500 cash or $1,000 bond.

McMaster is due back in the Town of Columbus court of Friday.

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