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Rescue group tries to save animals seized from backyard butcher

April 6, 2012 | 12:19 pm

 Dozens of abused farm animals taken from the home of a backyard butcher in Santa Clarita Valley will need up to a year to recover, officials said.

Los Angeles County Animal Control officers seized two dozen goats and sheep, five cows, 19 fowl, a horse and a cat from filthy conditions this week. They took the animals to the Gentle Barn, an animal rescue organization that heals and nurses sick animals back to health.

Animal Control officials said the case was one of the worst they’ve seen.

The homeowner is classified as a backyard butcher, someone who owns farm animals and slaughters them for personal consumption. But case officers said they found evidence the man was selling the meat, which is illegal. The homeowner has been arrested in the case.

All the animals were emaciated, many with open sores, infected lungs, parasites, fevers and hacking coughs, officials said. Some goats were going blind from untreated eye infections, according to officials. The horse arrived at the Gentle Barn about 300 pounds underweight with an open, infected wound on her leg that goes down to the bone, said Gentle Barn President Jay Weiner.

A staff of veterinarians and volunteers are tending to the animals 24 hours a day, Weiner said. They are being given medicine to rebuild their immune systems and as they begin to recover, each will be given a name.

"We're working hard so they heal and they're not scared," he said. "But we hope the community will come forward and support us and help us financially."


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-- Esmeralda Bermudez