A woman was charged with one count of misdemeanor animal neglect after authorities inspected a goat farm she operates and found more than 40 dead goats and at least 150 in poor condition, officials said.
Robin Dillenbeck, 44, of Edick Road, Sammonsville, was cited by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday after the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to an anonymous call about the farm on Firebreak Road in the town of Johnstown.
SPCA Director Sharon Hayes was accompanied by Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey, deputies and District Attorney Louise K. Sira. Sira said she is still waiting to learn all the circumstances that led to this situation and said she would reserve comment until after the investigation is completed.
Among the dead goats was a dead sheep, Hayes said.
While Hayes said she is also awaiting more information before making final determinations about Dillenbeck’s goat farm and an explanation for the animal deaths, she said there were only four bales of hay and a couple bags of grain on the premises to feed more than 150 animals.
The goats were also infested with lice and parasites, making them unfit to be associated with healthy animals, either at a shelter or another farm, Hayes said. As a result, the animals will be kept at Dillenbeck’s farm on the condition she has an appointment with a veterinarian by Friday, when Hayes and Lorey will return for another inspection, Hayes said.
“I think the problem should be contained [at the farm], and we’ll start working on it from there,” she said. Removing animals in that condition, she said, “is only going to move the problem.”
It appears, Hayes said, that Dillenbeck has rented the property for 16 years. Dillenbeck told authorities she had a business selling goats for meat.
During the inspection, Hayes said, garbage bags containing dead goats were observed in pens among living goats. Some goats were bald as a result of lice infestations, she said.
Hayes said Dillenbeck’s family members have pledged to assist Dillenbeck in burying the dead animals and returning the surviving animals to health.
Sira said neighbors of the farm expressed concern about contamination of area wells from spring runoff. Sira said the state departments of Health and Environmental Conservation were contacted but did respond.
Dillenbeck could not be located for comment.