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State Official: Animals Showed Obvious Signs of Neglect

A state Dept. of Agriculture expert says the 41 animals seized from a home in Oxford Tuesday were clearly not cared for properly.

A state animal expert described at least one of the 41 animals seized from an Oxford home Tuesday as emaciated.

Ray Connors, supervisor of the state animal control division with the state Department of Agriculture, said a horse seized from Karen Desrosiers at 48 Condon Road is extremely skinny and you can clearly see its ribcage. He said the other animals show obvious signs of neglect.

Connors also said this is not the first time his office has had an issue with Desrosiers. In 2010, his department responded to her house because of a malnurished horse. The department helped her work with a veterinarian to get the horse back to a good weight and so the department stopped being involved.

That is until Tuesday, when they executed a search and seizure warrant for animals and livestock. The investigation began on Feb. 20 after Oxford Animal Control received a complaint of a roaming animal near Desrosiers' house. Oxford Animal Control officials said they discovered malnourished horses, livestock, companion animals and poultry. Officials seized four dogs, a cat, 18 chickens, six turkeys, six guinea fowl, a goat, a pig, a donkey, a horse, and two miniature horses.

The search and seizure warrant alleges that the animals lacked basic and necessary veterinary care, proper feed and water. The animals were kept in makeshift cages throughout the property, which is set back off the road more than 100 yards. 

"They were all in bad shape; some are worse than others," Connors said. 

At this point, Desrosiers does not face criminal charges, though Connors said it is likely the state will pursue criminal action against her. He said the state is still gathering evidence and waiting on veterinarian reports of the animals. The state will seek possession of the animals, Connors said. 

Desrosiers declined to comment on Wednesday. 

Background From the Original Article

"Conditions observed that led to the action include horses and a donkey with badly overgrown hooves, skin conditions and no water available. No hay and very little animal feed were seen on the property. One horse appeared to have wounds and injuries of unknown origin," according to a news release from the Department of Agriculture.

The four dogs and one cat taken in the seizure will be kept at local municipal animal shelters. The horses, livestock, and poultry are being transported to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s large animal rescue facility at Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic. All of the animals will be evaluated by a veterinarian. 

At this time, none of the animals are available for adoption as this is an ongoing investigation into possible criminal animal neglect, the press release states. At this point, Desrosiers has not been charged criminally. 

“Neglect and abuse of animals are actions we do not tolerate at the Department of Agriculture,” Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said. “It is essential that these animals receive adequate food, water, and care while we investigate the circumstances that led to these conditions, and take the necessary steps to ensure they do not occur again.

The search and seizure was conducted by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Oxford Animal Control, the Oxford Resident Trooper's Office and animal control officers from surrounding towns.

How to Help

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture has a fund to help defray the cost of caring for animals taken during animal cruelty search and seizures. Donations can be made by check (payable to the “Animal Abuse Cost Recovery Account”) to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, 165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106. In addition to donations, the fund also takes in court-awarded monies and dedicates these monies to the feeding and care of seized animals. 

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