Authorities in Massachusetts discovered hundreds of dead and injured animals, makeshift cabins, burning trash and illegal stoves on a 70-acre property Tuesday.
Westport police and Dartmouth officers searched a portion of the Westport land and found three goats that had to be euthanized, dead sheep and several other sick or injured farm animals in “deplorable conditions.”
Authorities said the investigation started last week after a man reported that his goats had been attacked by two Rottweilers. The dogs had been found in poor condition after escaping an “unsanitary enclosure.”
Authorities said they found between 600 and 800 animals in “dire health.”
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen, as far as scale and conditions,” lead veterinarian for the Animal Rescue League of Boston Kyle Quigley said Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe.
According to WCVB-TV, the Animal Rescue League of Boston said that 7 dogs, 3 cats, 5 goats, a pig, a goose and 33 rabbits were taken into their care. At least four goats and one pig were euthanized.
Westport police detective sergeant Tony Cestodio said the property is divided into 20 lots and is managed by individual tenants. Most of the tenants who raise livestock for sale or personal consumption had neglected their lots and animals.
“They clearly don’t care,” he added. “They don’t care about the condition of the animal; they don’t care about the condition of the lot.”
Police identified the owner as Richard Medeiros, of Westport. He was charged in a similar animal cruelty incident six years ago.
“It’s the same property, same issues,” Westport Police Detective Jeffrey Majewski said. “It’s just as bad.”
Cestodio said that Medeiros and the other tenants will likely face criminal charges. The tenants will only be allowed on the property to feed their animals under police supervision, according to the Globe.
Cestodio said he hopes that the penalties for Medeiros will face stiffer penalties since he’s a repeat offender.
"I'd like this to stop," he added. "Stop bringing animals up here and neglecting them. No animal should live like that."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.