SWANVILLE — A Maine farmer who police say killed and buried a dozen malnourished pigs before agents inspected them has pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Jerry Ireland’s attorney entered the plea on his client’s behalf this week. Ireland faces 13 counts of cruelty to animals.

Authorities say Maine Animal Welfare Program agents who went to Ireland’s Swanville farm in March found a live pig locked in a barn without food or water, along with a cow that had bedding “full of manure.”

A further search uncovered a dozen Mangalitsa pig carcasses in two stalls. Agents say the pigs were all thin.

The lone live pig has been taken to a rescue center.

Ireland’s attorney has said his client treated his animals humanely.

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