Animal protection officers seize 20 horses and other animals from Sanford farm

SANFORD – State animal welfare officials seized 20 horses, along with several dogs, cats and other animals, from a small farm on Deering Neighborhood Road in Sanford.

Authorities on Wednesday began rounding up the animals from the property, which is in the Springvale section of town. The animals were being treated Thursday by various animal rescue agencies, and state officials were assessing their welfare as part of the investigation into their care.

“All the animals are safe and have been placed in shelters where they receive the care and attention they need,” said Jim Britt, spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. from Maine.

Authorities seized 20 horses, 11 chickens, two pigs, six dogs, six cats, two geckos, three rats and a bearded dragon (a lizard), according to Britt.

“The animals were not mistreated,” he said. “They just weren’t getting the care they needed. “

Britt said the woman who rescued the animals was unable to follow their care.

“She was trying to do the right thing. It’s a little sad, ”added Britt.

No charges have been laid. No one was home Thursday afternoon.

Liam Hughes, director of the Maine Animal Welfare Program, visited the farm on Wednesday.

“They (the animals) haven’t been handled much in the past, so they’re picky and they’re a little scared. So we’re trying to slow down, put them on the trailers and get them out to a safe place, ”Hughes told WMTW-TV.

Dennis Chagnon, a civilian assistant in the York County Sheriff’s Office who is involved in the Springvale farm investigation, could not be reached on Thursday.

Sanford officials discussed horse welfare at a July 6 city council meeting after Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy mentioned a conversation she had with a resident regarding conditions on the farm.

“I was talking to someone… about a property… where the number of horses on the property has increased quite sharply, and there is not-so-good maintenance of said horses, and concerns about said horses,” Herlihy said. She pointed out that the caretaker rents the property and is not the owner of the property.

Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio said she believed the person looking after the animals had taken rescue horses. She also said questions about their care had already been raised.

“We have received many complaints,” she said.

Local resident Steve St. Pierre said Thursday he saw no obvious problems and was not familiar with all of the animals being cared for.

“Obviously there have been issues with the care of the horses,” said St. Pierre. “We never saw pigs or dogs or cats, just horses.”

He said he and a neighbor sometimes wondered if there were enough stalls for all the horses, but they spoke to each other on Thursday and agreed everything seemed normal.

Editor-in-chief Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

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