Connecticut Officials Seize Neglected Animals

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture, working with local police and the state Humane Society, seized several animals from a local farm, charging the owners with animal cruelty. The farm in question, Bilger Farm, possessed several animals, including eleven horses, several goats, as well as a number of dogs and cats. Altogether, nine horses were taken from the farm. The condition of the animals ranged from merely underfed, to near death. Most had lice, many were gaunt, and one had an internal sore; caused by its hipbone rubbing against the inside of its skin in the absence of a fat cushion. All of the animals in question were poorly fed, with state officials claiming they were being given low-quality feed.

Maureen Kenney and Bill O’Brien III, the owners of the animals, denied any wrongdoing. O’Brien, for example, claims that several of the animals are merely old, and that their age makes it difficult for them to retain weight. Others, he claims, experienced bad reactions to ringworm medicine which reduced their appetite.

State officials have been looking into the farm for almost a year. Back in August, anonymous reports led local police to begin their investigation. Officials gave owners an opportunity to better treat their animals and offered advice and specific instructions to improve the health of their horses, all of which was ignored.

The neglect case could have an impact on a rash of anti-videotaping laws seen in many agricultural states. The efficient response of local officials could spur other states to ban undercover farm videos, relying instead on government agents rather than investigative reporters.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer