SORRENTO — On Monday Jan. 7, Maine’s Animal Welfare agents removed more than 100 farm animals from a farmer’s property after the court found he violated an April 2018 deferred disposition agreement that followed cruelty to animal charges, according to Liam Hughes, Maine’s Director of Animal Welfare.
On January 3, the order was signed giving custody of all of the remaining animals to the state of Maine and on January 8, the Animal Welfare program agents obtained a search warrant to remove 75 chickens, 10 ducks, 15 rabbits, and five pigs, which were taken to various sheltering partners for treatment and evaluation.
Since the seizure, Peace Ridge Animal Sanctuary, in Brooks, has been caring for the animals and has addressed each one’s medical and physical needs.
“The animals are doing as well as can be expected given the squalid, bleak conditions they somehow survived,” said Executive Director Daniella Tessier. “We would very much appreciate any help the community can provide. We have a lot of spaying and neutering to do, and quite a few rabbits who will be giving birth as they are in the late stages of pregnancy. It's awful that they were being paired up to breed — no food, no water, yet being purposefully kept in breeding groups. One female rabbit gave birth to a litter of still born babies the day after arrival. We weren’t surprised. You can't have healthy babies if you are starving to death.”
The farmer is now subject to a court order forbidding him to own or possess any livestock permanently and will have to pay fines starting on February 1. The state’s Animal Welfare Program and local law enforcement are to monitor the property to ensure compliance.
Two years ago, on Dec. 28, 2017, according to a WABI story, the same farmer had 44 animals seized from his property, which were found to be living in unsafe conditions. It had been the second time in one month that the state officials had to raid the farm and seize abused animals, according to Bangor Daily News on Dec. 29, 2017
What to do if you suspect animal cruelty
According to the nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute, animal cruelty, “can be intentional, such as kicking, burning, stabbing, beating, or shooting; or it can involve neglect, such as depriving an animal of water, shelter, food, and necessary medical treatment.”
If you suspect any cruelty, the burden of proof is not on you. Every state has laws against animal cruelty.
AWI states: “It is important to report a suspected crime, whether it is animal abuse, child abuse, or some other illegal act. Do not worry if you cannot “prove your case.” The job of law enforcement is to investigate suspicious activities.” Here is a tip sheet on how to proceed.
How you can help
Peace Ridge Animal Sanctuary is accepting donations to clean, feed, medicate and house the rescued animals. You can find stories of their recovery on their Facebook page and help them with donations.
To report an animal cruelty or neglect complaint during business hours 8 am to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday:
Complaints received via email must contain the reporting party’s name and phone number; the name of the animal owner, (if known), a physical address, a description of the animals and the type of complaint.
1-877-269-9200 (Toll Free)
For an emergency outside of business hours:
Call the Bangor Barracks of the State Police, 207-973-3700, and they will contact an Animal Welfare Program representative.
Animal Control Officer Contacts
Photos courtesy Peace Ridge Animal Sanctuary
Kay Stephens can be reached at