Westport residents not happy about progress with squalid farm

Embattled farm was topic of discussion at Westport Select Board meeting on Monday, October 31, 2016.

WESTPORT, Mass (WPRI) – Residents are urging town officials to take aggressive steps to keep animals from once again living in horrible conditions at a problem farm property.

The squalid farm located off Rt. 177 in Westport was a topic of discussion at the town’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting Monday.

The board filled the crowd in on the actions being taken, but many were not happy with what they heard.

One by one, residents expressed their frustration with the ongoing issue at the farm.

“We just want you take action.” Constance Gee’s statement to town officials was followed by applause.

Laurie Manory said, “Westport is really suffering as a town, because we’re not hearing anything.”

Over the weekend, police say a bull and a calf escaped from the property and were found wandering around.

Over the summer, roughly 1,400 animals were rescued from squalid conditions.

The same farm and its owner, Richard Medeiros, were cited for widespread animal neglect just six years ago, but Board of Selectmen Chair, Michael Sullivan, says the board needs to proceed cautiously.

“We’d much rather negotiate some type of solution, than seek lengthy, costly court battles that don’t get us anywhere.”

Board members say they’re working with the owner to try and get unfettered access to the land and will potentially file an injunction if negotiations fail.

Residents say there’s no reason to wait.

Chairman Sullivan said, “I’m not proud of how long this has taken, but there’s nobody here that is not doing their job.”

Town officials sent a letter to the farm’s owner, ordering he clean his property and hire an exterminator to eliminate a rat infestation.

Medeiros has 10 days to comply or face a daily $1,000 fine.

In the meantime, animals are back on the property, but the board says they’re properly cared for.

Residents aren’t satisfied with that.

Chris Wiley said, “You obviously understand we’re all extremely frustrated. I understand that things are done behind the scene because they have to be, but you don’t really have to expect us to like it.”

The board of health is reportedly working on citations for the property.

Meanwhile, the attorney general’s office is expected to bring forth charges in the coming weeks.