BY ANDREAS YILMA
BEACON FALLS — The state Department of Agriculture has seized nearly 100 sheep from a Lopus Road farm after a complaint about the animals’ welfare.
The department carried out a search-and-seizure warrant for 99 sheep and one goose, taking them to the Department of Agriculture’s rescue and rehabilitation facility in Niantic.
The farm’s owner also voluntarily surrendered 15 cats, which were taken to Woodbridge Regional Animal Control. The farm is at 392 Lopus Road.
The state received a complaint Feb. 22 and met with the owner the next day. The owner gave DOA permission to remove one ewe and her lamb for a veterinarian to provide critical treatment for survival.
Those animals were then taken to the rescue barn in Niantic.
First Selectman Gerard Smith said the town was made aware of the situation by DOA.
“I’m glad the animals are being well taken care of,” Smith said.
The complaint and surveillance revealed “animal welfare concerns, including unsuitable living conditions, excess growth of wool causing skin conditions and bald patches, as well as lameness due to overgrown hooves,” the DOA stated in press release.
State licensed veterinarians will evaluate and treat the sheep, which include 65 adults and 34 lambs.
The animals will remain in state custody and care until the case is resolved in the court system, the release states.
The owner subsequently declined to comment on the matter at this time.
The DOA said it attempts to work with owners voluntarily to improve standards of care and removal of animals is a last resort.
Resources and support for animal owners facing hardship is available by calling 860-713-2500.