Nearly 200 Farm Animals Saved From Backyard Butcher

This week dozens of farm animals who were facing a grizzly fate at the hands of a backyard butcher in upstate New York will now spend the rest of their days at sanctuaries thanks to a massive rescue effort that has brought them to safety.

The rescue began over the weekend after the Hudson Valley SPCA Law Enforcement Division entered the Hamptonburgh property with a search and seizure warrant, joined by rescuers from Farm Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Cornell University Cooperative Extension to get the animals out.

In an update from Susie Coston, National Shelter Director for Farm Sanctuary, called the scene ”a garbage dump with animals,” stating, “What I saw there will haunt me until the day I die. It’s heartbreaking to think that these beautiful animals were given this one life, and instead of enjoying it like they should, they’ve endured unthinkable suffering. But for those for whom it’s not too late, we intend to give them all the love they need to recover from this horrible ordeal and live a happy life.”

Warning: Some scenes in the following video are graphic.

Dozens of of sheep, goats, cows, pigs and chickens, including pregnant mothers and babies, were left to suffer in horrifying conditions. They were sick, starving, dehydrated, covered in lice and infested with parasites. All of the sheep and calves have pinkeye.

More disturbing than the conditions these animals would have endured indefinitely without intervention, is that the person renting the property also had a make-shift slaughterhouse adjacent to the barn. According to Farm Sanctuary, they also owned a restaurant and were serving this meat to their customers.

Kathy Keefe, Director of Sanctuary Operations at Catskill Animal Sanctuary, said, “I had to step over body parts to get to the surviving animals. Intestines were scattered around the floor. There was a skinned cow’s head sitting in a bag. It was a house of horrors.”

Fortunately for the survivors, the nightmare is over. All of the living animals were removed and split up between individual adopters and the four sanctuaries, while the worst cases went straight to Cornell University for emergency treatment.

According to the Times Herald-Record, Emiliano Zapata of Newburgh, was charged with neglect and unlawful disposal of animals and is due to appear in court in November.

For updates and more info on how to help, visit Farm Sanctuary, Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sara G.
Sara G3 years ago

Thank goodness this one got closed down. I'm sure there are more out there.

Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Goodness, I am so glad rescue efforts were successful.

Amy L.
Amy L3 years ago

Execute Zapata! I'm sick to death of those murdering bastards getting away with this kind of stuff. There is no excuse and the law is too lenient on these killers! This makes me absolutely furious!

iveta NoFwdsPls cer
Iveta Cer3 years ago

Cruel people !!! I am glad these poor animals were rescued , thank you .

Ricky T.
Ricky T3 years ago

It's the last job you wanna see operate in the backyard, apart from your own doctor!

Vera T.
Vera T3 years ago

Could you imagine this world without those compassionate people who go out of their way to save animals in these terrible conditions - why the heck is there so much cruelty. Are all humans primitive neanderthals ?

Valentina R.
Valentina R3 years ago

Glad they were saved from this disgusting killer.

Lori Hone
Lori Hone3 years ago

Such a sad story, but gotta love their happily ever after

Christina Wilson
Christina Wilson3 years ago

This all goes back to the dichotomy that most of us human beings live with - we love animals and yet we eat them. As long as we are meat-eaters, these things will occur. Part of respecting our fellow earthlings is to stop eating them. I did, and I don't miss it one bit.