Animal activists are calling it a case of animal cruelty. About 200 animals were rescued from a Farm in Orange County on Saturday. The owner of the animals was charged with neglect and improper disposal of farm animals. But family members said there’s more to the story. Reporter Candace Dunkley has more on what investigators found.
HAMPTONBURGH, N.Y. -- The Chief of Hudson Valley SPCA Law Enforcement Division Gene Hecht said it's one of the worst cases of animal abuse he's ever seen.
“It was just terrible, no food, no water, skinny animals, dead animals, lying in the field, that weren’t properly disposed of,” said Hecht.
Around 200 animals were rescued from a farm in Hamptonburgh over the weekend. Most of them were sent to local animal sanctuaries.
“These pigs, they lived in animal hell, dark pit, six inches deep in manure, they were not able to rut, they were malnourished,” said Jeff Lydon, the Director of Operations for Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.
Hecht said the investigation first started late last month when the Town of Montgomery police were contacted for reports of a sheep in the road. Eventually the SPCA got involved. Officials said they waited for the owner of the farm animals to return from Mexico and gave him a list of things to do to bring his treatment of the animals in line with the law.
“I waited to the end of the week and I went back and he never did a thing, so we got a search warrant, a search and seizure warrant and that’s when we entered the premises.”
But the owner's daughter tells a different story. Wendy Zapata said her father wasn't given enough time to comply.
“He told my parents Thursday you need a vet, I was calling vets to come see them and next thing you know Saturday people are here.”
She said she feels they are being targeted because her parents do not speak English well. She also said the animals were well cared for.
“I was seeing [pictures] on Facebook. It takes two people to carry a goat or a sheep. Come on now they’re heavy, they’re fed right,” said Zapata.
Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, where 20 of the animals were taken said now the focus needs to be on getting the animals the treatment they need.
"All of the animal that have come here, have come here to stay for the rest of their lives and they are going to have the best possible care,” said Lydon.
The sanctuary said caring for the animal’s medical treatment will cost thousands of dollars. If you would like to donate visit their web page here.
As for the type of farm it was (where the animals were seized,) there were numerous reports by sanctuaries that the animal owner was a butcher. The owner’s daughter said only one cow was killed for personal food consumption. She said the other animals are raised and then sold.