Goats seized from Cornwall farm find new homes

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Steve Jensen, CT Dept. of Agriculture

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.–Several of the goats seized from a Cornwall farm earlier this year have found a new home.

In January, the state Department of Agriculture seized 70 goats from the Butterfield Farm Co. due to severe malnourishment and animal cruelty. Several of the goats were found dead after freezing and starving when inspectors came to check in on the goats.

The goats were taken to a rehabilitation center in Niantic, where they were cared for.

Tara Bryson and Michael Hearl, both of West Suffield, are facing 63 counts of animal cruelty. They may also be responsible for the money doled out by the state to care for the goats.

Officials say caring for the goats has been a main contributor to the Agriculture Department’s $380,000 budget deficit.

Earlier this week it was announced that the goats were being dispersed in a way that would minimize the spread of disease and would allow some of the goats to be adopted. The Department of Agriculture found that amajority of the adult goats had at least one transmissible disease. Some of those, which have no cure, include Johne’s, or paratuberculosis; Caseous Lympadentis; and Carprine Athritis Encephalitis.

The 12 goats moving to New York have CAE, and are being taken to the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen to be quarantined. Some are also being taken to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

“We’re thrilled to give these long-suffering goats the chance to live a happy life, free from the inherent stresses of agricultural production,” says Farm Sanctuary National Shelter Director Susie Coston. “Goats are very playful, social animals who are very similar to the cats and dogs we share our lives with. Here, they will be treated like the incredible individuals that they are, not as unfeeling commodities.”

Recently, 46 of the goats who have at least one disease were sold at a livestock auction. Two more are set to be auctioned off soon.

Thirteen of the adult goats were healthy, and they were placed back into agricultural production through a bidding process.

In addition, 23 baby goats that were born since the goats were seized from the farm are being offered to agricultural schools and youth organizations.

“We all hoped that every one of these livestock animals could be put back into agricultural production,” Agriculture Commissioner Reviczky said. “The decision to disperse the herd in this manner was made after months of treatment and testing by our veterinarians concluded that the contagious diseases present in the majority of animals made them not suitable for agriculture or for placement that would risk disease transmission.”