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Conn. To Auction Seized Goats

(Steve Jensen/Connecticut Department of Agriculture via AP, File)

The state of Connecticut is auctioning off 13 goats taken from a dairy farm in Cornwall. The goats were part of the largest seizure of farm animals in state history.

In January, state animal control officers seized 74 goats after a month-long investigation brought on by a tip from a neighbor. The farm’s owners were charged with dozens of counts of animal cruelty. Ray Connors is a supervisor with the state Animal Control Program. He says the goats were left alone in the winter cold with no shelter, piled on top of each other.

“A lot of the goats were pretty well emaciated, so they weren’t getting enough feed, they weren’t getting enough water” he said.

The goats were taken to a stable at York Correctional Institute, a women’s prison in Niantic where the state keeps animals seized due to neglect. The state opened this stable in 2003 to give animals a place to recover. Connors says it’s also good for the prison’s inmates, who work in the stable.

“Oh, they do everything from feeding, cleaning, to grooming. They’re learning a skill while they’re here” he said.

Connors said these goats needed more than grooming. They were suffering from diseases like listeriosis and ringworm. He said he wasn’t sure they would make it. But only three died. Along the way, some have been sold for meat, some have been given to a farm sanctuary, and some have been given to youth agricultural groups like 4H and FFA. But there have also been some new babies born at the prison.

Animal Control Officer Linda Wenner said the 23 goats that are still here are finally back to health.

“It’s nice to see them bright-eyed and interested in people. I mean, she’s looking around, and she’s happy to be here,” she said.

Some of the goats will be leaving when the closed-bid auction ends next week. Connors said he hopes the highest bidder will be a dairy farm that can treat these goats well. He said the rest will also go up for auction in October.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.