WATERVILLE — Maine agriculture officials have dropped a case against a Sidney farmer who didn’t dispose of the bodies of animals that had died on his property over the winter.

In a stipulation of dismissal filed Aug. 6 in Waterville District Court, the state and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry said that Mark Gould, a farmer with property on Norman Road in Sidney, had cleaned up the dead animals and agreed to follow department regulations for removing future animal bodies.

Tim Feeley, a spokesperson for the Office of the Maine Attorney General, said in an email that after a complaint was filed against him, Gould “disposed of the carcasses in a manner acceptable to the department and agreed to comply with the department’s animal carcass disposal rules in the future and the complaint was dismissed.”

Gould, reached by phone Tuesday night, blasted state officials over the case.

“It was a bogus charge to start with,” he said. “It’s just harassment by the state. It’s personal.”

A complaint of dead farm animals that had been left on Gould’s property brought investigators to his farm for the first time on March 23. According to a report by investigator Matt Randall, department staff documented three dead cattle, a cat and two chickens in the dooryard at the time of its first visit.

The dead animals remained in the same place in subsequent visits on April 8 and 10, according to reports from Randall. At the time, Randall reported that he had reached Gould on the telephone several times but had been unable to meet him at the property.

State law requires farmers to remove dead livestock properly by burying or composting the carcasses in order to prevent the spread of disease or infection to other animals. Violating those rules is a civil offense.

The case was referred to the attorney general’s office, which filed a civil lawsuit against Gould on May 11 in Waterville District Court.

In a response filed in early June, Augusta attorney Jim Mitchell said that frozen conditions “made further disposal impossible” and argued that “the regulations are unreasonable if they do not include an implied exception for conditions.”

The state asked for an injunction to require Gould to clean up the carcasses and pay fines of $500 for every day the rules were violated up to a maximum of $50,000. In its stipulation of dismissal, the department agreed to drop the case without costs.

Gould has a history of problems with the Department of Agriculture. In 2011 and last July, he was charged with animal trespassing after some of his goats got onto Interstate 95 through a hole in the fence around his property.

Two weeks ago, state animal welfare agents seized 23 goats, as well as calves and chickens, from Gould’s property. A department representative said the animals were unhealthy and malnourished, although Gould said that he had just bought them from a livestock auction and was trying to nurse them back to health.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

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