SAUGERTIES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Dozens of sheep that were rescued from an Ulster County farm are continuing to recover. The animals, which were seized in the late fall, have experienced a slew of health issues, including malnutrition, parasite loads and hoof conditions.
37 sheep and 11 lambs now living happily at Catskill Animal Sanctuary, a dramatic turnaround from the condition they were in when they first arrived with the organization.
“This amazing team of people worked around the clock to put enough weight on them, to keep them warm, to treat them for worms, to treat their hoof conditions,” said Kathy Stevens, Founder and Director of the sanctuary.
Concern began when a pair of sheep were found wandering along State Route 32, with staff from the sanctuary noticing the animals looked malnourished. Stevens said they had received numerous calls about sheep on the road and had continued bringing them back to the local farm they came from.
“One time when it happened, we noticed that the sheep were disturbingly thin, that most of them were limping, that one was hobbling along on three legs,” she explained.
Stevens contacted the Ulster County SPCA, who started an investigation. The SPCA gave the farmer a month to improve the health conditions of the animals. After a month, Stevens says the health of the animals worsened, which prompted the District Attorney’s Office to step in.
“My primary goal was the safety of these animals, I never ever wanted these animals to go back to him,” said Felicia Raphael, who’s head of the animal abuse crimes unit for the DA’s Office.
Raphael negotiated the surrender of the animals, “He would be monitored for six months by the SPCA, he receives a non-criminal disposition if he’s in compliance with the SPCA monitoring and he relinquished ownership and any interest in the sheep.”
40 animals were taken from the farm, but sadly three died within days of arriving at the sanctuary. Another spent well over a month at Cornell receiving treatment for a hoof condition.
Others still have health concerns, with some visibly limping, but Stevens is optimistic, “We’re pretty confident that we’ve made it through the worst of it and they’re going to be fine.”
The sanctuary also has 11 adorable new animals, with lambs, all born after their mother’s had been rescued.
“The babies were pretty far developed, and we weren’t sure the mother’s were getting enough nutrition, and even survive the birthing process themselves, but we had every single mother give birth to really healthy babies,” said Annie Motter, Healthcare Manager at the sanctuary.
The District Attorney’s Office says they will continue monitoring the farmer to ensure they’re in compliance with the SPCA.