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On March 18, the State of Connecticut filed a complaint against Nancy Burton requesting temporary custody and permanent ownership of the 65 goats that are currently in the physical custody of the state, citing Conn. Gen. Stat.§ 22-329a(c).
In the complaint, Chief State Animal Control Officer Jeremiah Dunn described the conditions on Burton’s Cros Highway property that prompted the state to seize the goats.
A four day surveillance was conducted and the operation revealed a number of animal health and property management concerns. It was observed that:
• there was inadequate manure management and manure accumulated in and around the paddocks which resulted in animals having to take shelter in manure filled enclosures.
• the animals do not have adequate access to fresh water. The water provided was wholly inadequate for the size of the goat herd. At a minimum, each goat should have access to one half gallon of clean water daily, which would require 32.5 gallons of water for a herd of this size each day. The entire herd was consistently being given far less than 20 gallons of fresh water daily.
• the shelter provided in the paddocks did not provide enough space to shelter all of the animals and did not provide an adequate wind break for high winds and cold weather.
Forty to Fifty dead goats were found around the property in various stages of decomposition.
•In the northeast and northwest corners of the property, a number of dead goats were found in plastic bags, inside trash containers and in totes.
• More dead goats were located in the northeast corner of the property in a shallow pit that was covered by plywood.
• In the center of the property, frozen and partially decomposed goats were located in large totes under a tarp.
• Additional dead goats were located in the center of the property that were in plastic bags on the soil surface or partially buried in a shallow pit in or near a garden.
A goat that recently died was found in one of the paddock shelters. The straw around its hooves was displaced and a semi-circle pattern was carved into the ground; indicating that the animal was downed and struggling for a significant amount of time before expiring. Its eyes, lips and other soft tissues had been eaten away by rodents. The dead goat has been sent for necropsy to be conducted by the University of Connecticut. The findings of that necropsy are pending.
Goats were observed to have fur that was missing, matted and/or caked in mud and manure. Many of the goats had extremely long hooves that were not being maintained and were affecting mobility.
The complaint asked the Court to issue an order to Ms. Burton to show cause why the court shouldn’t give full custody of the 65 goats to the CT Dept of Agriculture. Alternately, CT DoAg requested that the Court issue an order requiring Ms. Burton to post a cash bond in the amount of $500.00 per animal for the goats care if she refuses to relinquish ownership.
Ms. Burton has until April 6 to respond.