CT seeks custody of 200 'severely neglected' farm animals

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Attorney General William Tong has filed a motion for permanent custody of nearly 200 severely neglected animals seized from a Connecticut farm last month.

In January, the Department of Agriculture Animal Control Unit, Suffield Police and Animal Control seized 18 cattle, 137 chickens, 33 ducks and six Great Pyrenees dogs seized from a farm leased by Rachel Kornstein of Manchester.

The farm is located at 1601 Sheldon Road in Suffield, a town near the western Massachusetts border.

“The animals were emaciated, severely dehydrated, and suffering from untreated wounds and infections,” Tong said in a release.

“Local officials were alerted to the situation by a veterinarian called to assist in the birth of a calf. The calf's mother was so malnourished she could not produce milk or move and died soon after giving birth.

“The conditions at the site also included evidence of several dead and decaying chickens. All the animals showed signed of severe neglect.”

The motion said one cow was found “severely emaciated, with its hips, spine and rib bones exposed; creating a tent of skin several inches in height that sagged down its sides,” adding the cow “had been lying in its own urine and feces, unable to move under its own power.”

In one poultry pen there were roughly 200 birds (chickens and ducks). “Within the pen, there was no food or water of any kind for the animals,” the motion said. “There were four dead birds in the pen. Chickens had been feeding on one of the dead birds, indicating a lack of food.”

In a motion filed Thursday in Hartford Superior Court Tong moved for permanent state custody of the animals. The motion also requests the court order Kornstein to provide daily compensation to the Department of Agriculture for the temporary care of the animals.

"No animal should ever suffer like this. The cows, chickens, ducks and dogs seized from this farm were severely malnourished, dehydrated, and suffering from multiple untreated infections. We are seeking permanent state custody of these animals to ensure they receive the proper care and attention they need and deserve,” Tong said.

First Selectman Mellisa Mack said “Suffield is known for its proud history as a town of farms where caring for the land and its animals is a sacred trust. I know I speak for all of our residents when I say how deeply saddened we are that this neglect happened in our community. We are tremendously grateful to the land owner, veterinarian, Suffield’s animal control officer and the CT Department of Agriculture who stepped in to rescue these neglected animals.”