The slow and methodical work of moving some 900 abused animals off a Westport, Massachusetts, farm started Tuesday, all part of what is being called the largest animal cruelty investigation in the Northeast.
“It is going to take many, many weeks for the investigation,” said Westport Police Sgt. Tony Cestodio. “We have a lot of information to process - vet reports, photos, all kinds of information we have to get together.”
Rescuers from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are leading the rescue effort. Investigators raided the farm 2 weeks ago after a man reported two dogs killed 15 of his goats.
After the raid, investigators compared conditions on the farm to that of a third world country.
“It is a shock, and it is a shame too because nobody wants the town like that,” Jerry Theodore said.
Theodore, a Westport resident, said the raid and the welfare of the animals remains a hot topic around town.
“We are animal lovers, I don’t know anybody around here who doesn’t,” he said.
On Tuesday, trucks pulled up to the farm, checked in at a police checkpoint, and then proceeded onto the farm. One rescuer said security there was like “Fort Knox.”
The animals are being shipped to an undisclosed location.
One rescuer estimated crews would be out at the farm until Thursday or Friday.
The owner of the property told investigators he leased portions of his farm to to others for money. No word Tuesday on if anyone was facing criminal charges.
“I would be amazed if something like this happened again,” Theodore said.