A Sanford woman whose horses and other animals were seized by state agents this month has been banned for life from possessing all animals except two dogs and two cats.

A judge imposed the ban Tuesday after the woman, who has not been identified by the state, appeared in Springvale District Court, said Jim Britt, spokesman for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Animal Welfare Program. Under the court order, the woman can petition the court in five years to have the ban reviewed and possibly lifted.

State animal welfare agents seized 20 horses, 11 chickens, two pigs, six dogs, six cats, two geckos, three rats and one bearded dragon on July 14 after it became apparent that the woman was unable to adequately care for animals she had taken in.

“The animals were not abused,” Britt said at the time. “They just weren’t getting the care they needed.”

The small farm is located on Deering Neighborhood Road in Springvale. Officials in Sanford were aware there were problems at the farm before the seizures. They discussed the welfare of the horses during a July 6 City Council meeting after Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy mentioned a conversation she had had with a resident regarding conditions at the farm.

“I was talking to someone … about a property … where the number of horses on the property has increased pretty heavily, and there are some not-so-great maintenance of said horses, and concern about said horses,” Herlihy told the Press Herald.


At Tuesday’s court hearing, the woman agreed to surrender custody of all the animals except for the two dogs and two cats, and acknowledged that she could not provide adequate care for the others. Britt said in a statement Wednesday that she will not face any criminal charges, and that the state is pleased with the outcome.

“The animals are getting the medical care and attention that they need to thrive,” Animal Welfare Program Director Liam Hughes said in a statement. “We are immensely grateful to all of the animal sheltering organizations, animal control officers, and volunteers who worked together on this important cause.”

Hughes credited several animal rescue shelters, animal handlers, and the Sanford Police Department and York County Sheriff’s Office with helping make sure the seized animals were properly cared for. He encouraged the public to check shelter websites if they are interested in adopting any of them.

Those organizations include the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals in Windham; the Animal Welfare Society of Kennebunk; and the Harvest Hills Shelter of Fryeburg.

“These professionals cared for the animals and extended compassion to the owner,” Britt said. “Without this group of people, this rescue would not have been possible.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: