The owner of a herd of cattle in Bloomfield is facing 15 counts of animal cruelty charges and an additional 60 violations for state statutes not meeting disease testing requirements.
The Department of Agriculture lauched an investigation after receiving a tip that Kelly Baker was not properly feeding her cattle at the Wintonbury Land Trust at 27 Duncaster Rd.
Baker told NBC Connecticut, "Any allegations of animal cruelty are not only false but we find them to be beyond insulting to our endeavor to raise 100% grass fed beef in a sustainable and natural way."
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The agency issued a quarantine order of the entire herd after it learned that Baker had not provided the required proof of vaccines for the herd and suspected that she had not complied with having the herd vaccinated, Bloomfield Police said.
Over the last six months, police and the department observed that metal feeders had been repeatedly pushed and knocked over by the cattle, which usualy indicates that the animals have not been fed, animal control officers said.
Baker had been reached a number of times to ask about feed and the animals vaccinations, police said. Baker told them she had been feeding the animals more than three times a day with hay provided to her by Auer Farm.
Animal control soon learned that the only agreement between Baker and Auer Farm for hay was for goats that lived on the land but not cattle. The property manager at Auer Farm told officials that in the last three weeks, Baker had "doubled" the amount of hay she had previously taken.
Upon visiting, animal control officers said cattle looked too thin compared to well-fed cattle. The officer also said on several occasions feed was not in the metal grower, police said.
During one of the visits, the animal control officer saw a baby calf, who they believe was only a few days old, lying on the ground with no hay and parts of the umbilical cord still attached, according to Bloomfield Police.
The cattle will remain quarantined until Baker can provide the Department of Agriculture with proper vaccination and permit documents.
Below is Baker's full statement:
I am the farmer who has been charged with animal cruelty. Our cows are at 26 Doncaster Rd in Bloomfield. I would certainly appreciate if people knew my take on the situation.
We take great pride in raising Scottish Highland cattle and provide them with the utmost care and respect. We offer our animals ample hay during the winter months and during the growing season they graze on pasture. They have a constant supply of fresh, clean water and access to shelter if they choose to use it. We raise the animals for beef; they provide us with our livelihood. Treating them humanely and respectfully is certainly a foundation of our business. We have very healthy animals. Our veteranarian rarely needs to be called but due to allegations of animal cruelty, we invited him to come out to provide his professional opinion. As anticipated, he agreed that our 2 bulls, 9 cows and 4 new calves looked to be very healthy and well within the range of what might be expected at this time of year.
Any allegations of animal cruelty are not only false but we find them to be beyond insulting to our endeavor to raise 100% grass fed beef in a sustainable and natural way. We can only assume that these allegations were brought forth by a concerned but very uninformed individual.