April 3, 2017

CASE UPDATE: 26 Indicted in New England’s Largest Farm Animal Cruelty Case

ASPCA responder touching a cow

In July 2016, the ASPCA assisted the Westport Police Department with the investigation, care and sheltering of more than 1,400 farm animals found living in overcrowded, overheated and dangerous living conditions on a 70-acre property in Westport, Massachusetts. The animals—including pigs, cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, sheep and cows—exhibited signs of neglect, and many appeared to have no access to food or water. It was the largest-ever farm animal cruelty case in the Northeast.

In the months that followed, the ASPCA provided critical care for the rescued animals, and eventually helped place them with partnering shelters and rescue groups across the United States. Today we are pleased to announce yet another important update in this record-breaking case: the indictment of the property owner and tenants.

In a press release issued on March 31, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that the farm owner and 26 tenants that rented out space on the property have been indicted on 151 counts of animal cruelty.

 “The ASPCA is pleased to see these indictments handed down after providing months of care to get these animals on the road to recovery,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “The conditions in Westport were among the worst we have ever encountered and we commend Attorney General Healey for pursuing justice for these animals and hope the community will continue to make the welfare of animals a priority.”

The defendants are expected to be arraigned in Bristol Superior Court at a future date. We will continue to keep you updated as this story progresses. In the meantime, please consider making a donation to the ASPCA today so we can help rescue more innocent victims of animal cruelty at a moment’s notice