State Takes Custody of Hundreds of Neglected Animals: Attorney General

Dog seized from farm in Suffield is shaved
Suffield Police Department

The state of Connecticut has taken custody of nearly 200 animals that the Attorney General said were found severely neglected at a Suffield farm last month.

The investigation began on Jan. 3 when a local veterinarian called authorities to report that a cow at a farm on Sheldon Street in West Suffield was not being properly cared for, police said.

Police said the Suffield Police Department Animal Control Division and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture investigated and determined that several cattle, dogs, and ducks and chickens at several locations, including 1497 Sheldon St. in West Suffield, 1601 Sheldon St. in West Suffield and 212 North Main St. in East Granby were being neglected by the same individual.

Suffield police and the State of Connecticut Department of Agriculture obtained a search and seizure warrant to seize, evaluate, and test the animals, which were removed from the property on Monday, Jan. 13. They were placed in the care of the Department of Agriculture for evaluation and rehabilitation and the dogs were removed and placed at a local veterinary center for further evaluation and care.

Suffield police have since charged Rachel Kornstein, 35, of Manchester, with six counts of cruelty to animals.

Suffield Police booking photo of Rachel Kornstein
Suffield Police

A week before Kornstein was arrested, Attorney General William Tong filed a motion for permanent custody of the nearly 200 animals.

Tong said 18 cattle, 137 chickens, 33 ducks and six Great Pyrenees dogs were seized.

“The animals were emaciated, severely dehydrated, and suffering from untreated wounds and infections,” a news release from Tong’s office says.

According to the attorney general, local officials were alerted to the situation after a veterinarian was called to assist in the birth of a calf and found the calf's mother was so malnourished that she couldn’t produce milk or move. She died soon after giving birth.

Tong’s office said several dead and decaying chickens were also found at the site.

On Friday, Tong said, Kornstein agreed to relinquish custody of all animals.

“We succeeded today in securing state custody of all animals seized in this horrible case. No animal should ever suffer as these animals did. The animals were severely malnourished, dehydrated and diseased, and there was no way the owner was going to be able to provide the intensive care and rehabilitation that is required,” Tong said in a statement.

Most of the animals are at the Department of Agriculture Large Animal Rehabilitation Facility in Niantic.

Kornstein posted the $20,000 surety bond and is due in court on Feb. 18.

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