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Pet Owners Face Cruelty Charges

Posted on Dec 8, 2008 - 9:05 AM
Pet Owners Face Cruelty Charges

Rutland, Vermont - December 6, 2008

Authorities in Rutland County are investigating one of the largest animal cruelty cases that the area has ever seen. More than 110 animals are on the road to recovery, rescued from farms in Hubbarton and Brandon.

The Rutland County Sheriff's Department began investigating three weeks ago after a Vermont Fish and Wildlife official responded to a call of a horse caught in a fence. Upon arriving at the farm, he quickly determined the lives of dozens of other animals were at risk.

"They also found a dead goat chained to a hay bale and he'd tried to make a little home in the hay to try and live in," explained Rutland County Sheriff, Stephan Benard. Most of the animals are now living at area shelters -- everything from sheep and horses -- to dogs, cats, ferrets and chickens.

Almost half of the animals are malnourished or showing signs of neglect. One bassett hound needs dental work. All of his teeth are on the verge of falling out.

"We saw animals without water. There were several miniature ponies gathered around a feeding stall. Some of them weren't tall enough to reach their heads in to get feed. There was no water for them," said Benard.

Both farms and all the animals were owned by the same family. Authorities don't know why the animals were neglected, but say financial troubles may have been a factor. "I think a lot of cases have to do with diminishing resources and instead of taking care of 20 correctly, they take 50," explained Benard.

Animal cruelty charges will be filed early next week. For now the animals are safe and sound. All are expected to recover.

The Rutland County Humane Society and Spring Hill Horse farms have taken in most of the animals. Both are in desperate need of donations to care for them.

To donate money or take in an animal rescued from Hubbarton and Brandon -- call Rutland County Humane Society at (802) 483-6700 or Spring Hill Horse Rescue at (802) 558-6540.

Keagan Harsha - WCAX News

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