The animals were taken from a New Haven County farm located in Beacon Falls on Friday, Feb. 24, after a search and seizure warrant was executed by the state Department of Agriculture.
The search had first been prompted by a complaint received by the department on Wednesday, Feb. 22, officials said. Following this, staff from the department's Animal Control Unit and Regulatory Services met with the animals' owner on Thursday, Feb. 23 to assess and resolve the situation.
On the day of this meeting, one ewe and her lamb were taken from the farm with the owner's permission and transported to a veterinarian to receive treatment that was "critical" for their survival, officials said. The two animals were then sent to the department's rescue and rehabilitation facility in Niantic after they were treated.
After this meeting with the owner, officials continued to surveil the property and found animal welfare concerns including "unsuitable" living conditions, excess wool growth that was causing skin conditions and bald patches, and lameness caused by overgrown hooves, according to the department.
Officials then applied for and were granted the search and seizure warrant for the remaining animals. Ultimately, 99 sheep and one goose were taken from the property and transported to the Niantic facility. Additionally, 15 cats that were voluntarily surrendered by the owner were taken to Woodbridge Regional Animal Control.
The sheep, which include 65 adults and 34 lambs, are being evaluated by state-licensed veterinarians and will remain in the department's custody until the court case is resolved.
Department officials said that seizing animals is always a "last resort," and that working with the owner to voluntarily improve care is usually preferred. Any other animal owners facing hardship can call the department at 860-713-2500 for help and support.
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