Published: 4/26/2022 3:01:56 PM
Modified: 4/26/2022 3:00:27 PM
AMHERST — A Hadley girl is facing 35 counts of felony animal cruelty for preserving uncared for and malnourished cows and goats, together with three animals that needed to be euthanized, following an investigation at an Amherst farm, in response to the regulation enforcement arm of the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Shannon Rice-Nichols, 49, shall be arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown on May 12 on the felony animal cruelty charges. Animal cruelty is punishable by as much as seven years in jail and a most high-quality of $5,000.
The MSPCA, in a press release, reported that eight head of very uncommon Kerry cattle, one Holstein cow and 22 Saanen, Lamancha and Alpine-mix goats are among the many animals that have been a part of the investigation that befell on the unidentified farm on March 14. Those animals are actually obtainable for adoption on the MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen.
The case started when Amherst’s animal welfare officer, Carol Hepburn, sought MSPCA’s help, and a group responded to the placement, mentioned Tom Grenham, director of regulation enforcement for the MSPCA.
“It was very clear upon arrival that the animals were in very serious trouble, with one cow having already died and the others in need of dire medical attention,” Grenham mentioned.
One cow and two goats that have been struggling have been euthanized on the farm. A veterinarian discovered that every one the cows have been severely uncared for and malnourished, and contaminated with parasites. Similarly, the goats have been described by the veterinarian as severely uncared for and malnourished, too, and contaminated with inner and exterior parasites.
“Unfortunately, our team was unable to save three animals who needed to be humanely euthanized by a veterinarian on the scene, which reinforces the disturbing nature of the case,” Grenham mentioned.
Rice-Nichols, who has been energetic within the native farming neighborhood, working the Farmer and The Cheese wholesale operation for a number of years from websites on Bay Road in Hadley, referred questions in regards to the case to her lawyer, Marissa Elkins of Elkins, Auer, Rudof, & Schiff LLC in Northampton. Elkins didn’t instantly return a telephone name looking for remark.
With plans to have a extra seen base for her operations, in April 2021 Rice-Nichols bought the previous farm stand and ice cream parlor at 10 Rocky Hill Road in Hadley, turning that into the Farm Shop & Cafe.
A GoFundMe web page created final fall, titled “Buy a Farmer Time to Heal,” describes Rice-Nichols as a farmer who supplied free eggs, hen and beef to susceptible communities and supported different small household farms, till experiencing “a serious physical injury.” That on-line fundraiser introduced in $3,480 of a $5,000 aim.
The MSPCA was assisted by Amherst police and the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources’ Division of Animal Health.
Scott Merzbach may be reached at [email protected].