CLINTON — A cow broke its neck and died last week after vandals let it and hundreds of other cows out of their pens at the Misty Meadow Farm and also vandalized the Wright Place Farm, police said.

Clinton police Senior Patrol Officer Karl Roy said Tuesday that on the night of Nov. 29 or early in the morning Nov. 30, about 150 milking cows were released from their pen at Misty Meadow. He said the cows were discovered by farm workers who were finishing their shifts. The workers were able to round up all the cows and get them back into their pens.

Then sometime between 2 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., about 500 milking cows were released from their pens. Roy said those cows were discovered by the next shift of workers arriving at the farm. All told there are 1,500 cows on the farm, Roy said. One of the cows that was released fell into a drainage hole and broke its neck.

Roy said the value of that cow was estimated at $2,000 to $2,500.

Workers at the farm also discovered that stainless steel cooling tanks for milk and cream had been turned off. The tanks were turned back on and the milk and cream was saved, but Roy said had those products spoiled, the value of the loss would have been $10,000.

“In order to turn those off, you have to know your way around the farm,” Roy said of those responsible for the vandalism. “It’s somebody with knowledge.”

It was also discovered that two headlights from a farm truck in the garage had been stolen, as had some meat from a freezer in the garage. A pellet or BB gun was also stolen, which probably was used to shoot out a window from a nearby tractor.

Roy said from there, the vandals, who are believed to be in the juvenile to young adult age, went down the road to the Wright Place Farm. The damage was significantly less at that dairy farm. No cows were released or injured.

There were examples of criminal mischief at the Wright Place Farm, though. Four streetlights had been shot out, probably with the gun stolen from the Misty Meadow Farm. Later, a farm worker noticed a tractor had been moved. Roy said that was more evidence that whoever did it “knew their way around” that kind of equipment.

The Clinton Police Department posted a message on its Facebook page on Dec. 1 alerting the public about the vandalism at the two farms and asking the public to help solve the case.

Roy said there had been a “vehicle of interest” seen in the area and that the police have persons of interest in the case, but no charges have been filed. He said the department thinks the culprits are juveniles or young adults because it’s likely they didn’t understand the severity of their acts.

“They think they’re goofing off when it’s actually quite serious,” Roy said, adding that milking cows are on cycles for milking, and when they are removed from those cycles, they may not produce as much milk, which disrupts the business.

“It’s the type of damage done that matches the most likely age category to do this,” Roy said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

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Twitter: @colinoellis