Police: Owner of squalid farm bringing animals back

WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — The owner of a squalid farm in Westport where hundreds of sick and dying animals were removed this past summer has at least one new animal on the property.

Police are worried the nightmare is beginning all over again, but a town detective says there’s nothing they can do about it.

The more than 1,400 animals seized from the farm in July are now being cared for elsewhere, but police have confirmed that at least one cow is back on the 70-acre property off American Legion Highway.

“That one lot renter said he planned on bringing more animals back,” Westport Police Det. Jeff Majewski said Friday.

Majewski said the conditions of the farm haven’t improved.

“There were dozens and dozens and dozens of rats running around the property,” he said. “So the board of health is aware of that and many of the rats are inside these makeshift, kind of dilapidated structures or buildings.”

According to Majewski, there are 75 illegal and unsafe buildings on the property. He said the town sent the property owner a letter ordering him to tear them down, but he hasn’t complied.

Police can’t step in, Majewski said, because there’s no court order or restraining order preventing the owner from having animals there.

“Nothing is stopping the property owner from bringing the animals back on the police end,” he explained. “The only entities that could stop that would be the the Board of Health and the Building Department enforcing violations. And there are violations.”

Eyewitness News called the Westport Board of Health but were informed the chairman is out of town.

Westport Town Administrator Timothy King said he’s very concerned about the reintroduction of animals to the farm, but it’s an issue of zoning. According to King, the town’s lawyers are in talks with the property owner’s attorneys to figure out a way to prevent history from repeating itself.

Police said they’ve initiated court proceedings in connection with the previous animal removal, but no one has been charged at this time.