SAUGERTIES, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Catskill animal sanctuary (CAS) reports the rescue of 40 starving sheep from a backyard slaughter operation. The sanctuary had the help of two other New York organizations to secure the release.

When limping and malnourished sheep were discovered wandering on a major thoroughfare in Saugerties, the Ulster County SPAC and CAS collaborated on an investigation. The sanctuary reports a veterinarian issues the sheep’s owner to comply with three conditions, put weight on the animals, deworm them and treat debilitating and life-threatening hoof rot. After a month, investigators returned and found half the original group missing and the remainder were close to death. This led the the investigators to recommend immediate seizure or slaughter of the remaining animals. The sanctuary reports Assistant District Attorney Felicia Raphael successfully negotiated the immediate surrender of the animals and 40 sheep were transported to the sanctuary where they received life-saving interventions, including blood transfusions.

Kathy Stevens, Founder of Catskill Animal Sanctuary states, “Once we learned of this horrific situation, we went into overdrive to bring them to safety,” “We are beyond grateful to the SPCA for intervening on their behalf, and to Assistant District Attorney Raphael for handling their case.” The assistant DA explains until legislators strengthen animal abuse laws, prosecutions are limited and the farm will not face a felony charge. The SPCA will regularly inspect the defendants farm to make sure any animals he may have in the future are being properly cared for.

CAS explains the preparations they underwent before the sheep arrived. The sanctuary erected quarantine paddocks, converted a former tool barn into a nursery, and ordered huge quantities of supplies, ranging from full-body quarantine suits to medications, to lots of extra hay. The sheep received immediate treatment to aid in their health condition. Within days, three sheep had passed away even with blood transfusions. CAS also collaborated with two partner sanctuaries that adopted nine of the sheep: Farm Sanctuary welcomed seven sheep and Woodstock Sanctuary accepted two young boys.

On a brighter side since the sheep have arrived, CAS announces the birth of ten tiny lambs, with one being named Felicia in honor of the district attorney. CAS reports most are healthy but with the neglect the mothers endured, several mothers aren’t producing enough milk leading staff to bottle or tube feed. If you want to learn more about the flock or donate, visit the CAS website.