WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — Officials are still working to get to the bottom of what led to a massive animal cruelty investigation in Westport.
Police say they found hundreds of animals living in deplorable conditions, possibly for years.
“We here at the Board of Selectmen are shocked and dismayed at the revelations of neglected and mistreated animals at a tenant farm on American Legion Highway,” said chairman Mike Sullivan.
This investigation will now be the farm’s second in three years, according to police. The farm was raided back in 2010 and the property was charged with animal cruelty.
Police are now criticizing the Board of Health for not doing more to prevent the same thing from happening a second time. They are now in the process of removing the animals and working to file criminal charges.
Town leaders said that they are looking into all inspections conducted by the Board of Health on the farm.
“We’re also doing fact-finding in the background so that people who need to be held accountable are held accountable,” explained Craig Dutra, Vice Chairman of the Westport Board of Selectmen.
While police say that many of the 600-800 animals on the farm were found dead, there are survivors.
Eyewitness News got a behind-the-scenes look on Friday at some of the surviving animals.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston took about 60 animals from the farm. The nonprofit said they were overwhelmed with the new arrivals, featuring everything from goats and rabbits to chickens and geese.
Debby Vogel, a manager at Animal Rescue League of Boston, explained, “it’s mainly just assessing their medical needs, seeing what health conditions they were in, the puppies, for instance, were covered in fleas.”
Many of those puppies actually left the Dedham shelter on Friday to spend time in a foster home, for a more natural environment.
Vogel also said that she has been getting, “hundreds of emails…to help house the animals.”
“That’s just so kind,” she said.
Volunteers say it will be at least a month before the puppies and some of the other animals can be adopted.