Livestock covered in feces, crowded, living with dead animals at Mercer farm
HAMILTON (Mercer County) — Police executing a search warrant at a local farm found livestock covered in feces, diseased, and living alongside dead animals, the county prosecutor's office said.
The warrant was executed at a farm on Uncle Pete's Road after township officials received complaints about the 14-acre property, Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri said. The case was investigated by the newly formed Humane Law Enforcement Unit. Among the animals found were 38 runner ducks in one coop. Two of the ducks were dead, and the living fowl were covered in close to six inches of feces, the prosecutor's office said.
A chicken coop had 54 chickens inside, including one that was dead. All of the animals appear to be diseased, including one with "severe growths on its feet," Onofri said.
Investigators found another 12 chickens in an abandoned house, he said. Five of the animals in the house were dead, while one died when investigators came to the scene.
Investigators also found nine pigs covered in feces in a "garage-like structure," according to Onofri. Even as the scene was being checked out Hamilton Township Animal Control was alerted to a 500-pound hog from the farm roaming in a neighborhood near the property. With a combined effort of several agencies, the hog was able to be brought back to the property and put in a more secure pen, the prosecutor's office said.
All of the living animals found on the property have been put in makeshift pens, and provided with food, water and shelter on the site. Onofri thanked a local family for donating enough food to feed the animals for a week.
The prosecutor said officials are hoping people will be able to take in the rescued animals. Anyone interested should contact Sgt. Eric Hastings of the Humane Law Enforcement Unit at email@example.com or 609-989-6063.
Following the investigation, police arrested 54-year-old Henry Guzikowski Jr. of Yardley, Pennsylvania. He was charged with multiple counts of third- and fourth-degree animal cruelty, and released pending a future court date. Guzikowski was also banned from adding or removing any animals from the property for the next 30 days.
Onofri said there is a historic preservation easement on the house, which meant Guzikowski was responsible for maintaining, preserving and protecting its historic character. As a result Guzikowski could face more legal troubles after Onofri's office sent information about the investigation findings to the county.