Saturday, July 30, 2016

ASPCA assists in largest-ever farm animal cruelty case in Northeast

At the request of the Westport Police Department, the ASPCA has been assisting with the investigation, care and sheltering of more than 1,000 farm animals of various species living in deplorable conditions on a 70-acre property in Westport, Mass.

The ASPCA Field Investigations & Response team arrived on the scene last Thursday and is assisting local and state officials in their investigation of what is now considered the largest-ever farm animal cruelty case in the Northeast.

Local authorities discovered the animals – including pigs, cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, calves, sheep, cows, and fish – living in deplorable conditions on the property, many of them exhibiting signs of neglect and with no access to food or water. The ASPCA’s Forensic Sciences team found deceased animals throughout the property and assisted local authorities in evidence collection to support the criminal case.

“This is an unusual situation given the high number and diverse nature of neglected animals, as well as the tremendous resources required to deliver necessary care,” said Matthew Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “By collaborating closely with our rescue and law enforcement partners, we’re dedicated to ending their suffering and providing them immediate care and safety.”

ASPCA responders have been providing daily care and medical treatment to animals in critical condition and are currently working to establish an emergency shelter near the property. The ASPCA will continue to care for the animals at the emergency shelter until custody is determined by the court, as well as provide ongoing legal support until the criminal case is resolved.

To date, the ASPCA has deployed nearly 50 responders to assist in the rescue, arriving with resources including tents, generators and trucks loaded with sheltering supplies. They expect to begin transporting the animals to the emergency shelter over the weekend.

Agencies assisting the ASPCA on the ground include: Animal Rescue League of Boston; Catskill Animal Sanctuary; International Fund for Animal Welfare; MSPCA-Angell; and Washington State Animal Response Team. Additionally, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has been supportive of the ASPCA’s effort on the ground and providing resources as needed.

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