CHAMPLAIN — Gerald G. Guay was charged with 34 counts of animal cruelty after six cows were found dead on his Champlain farm and others suffered badly from neglect, authorities say.
Three more bovines were euthanized Friday, as they were not responding to nourishment and were not able to get on their feet, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro told the Press-Republican by cellphone from the farm at 557 Rapids Road.
Guay, 58, was arrested and processed at the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department before his arraignment in Champlain Town Court on Friday afternoon.
One calf was born Friday morning; it was trucked with the 34 surviving cows to Maple Shade Farm in Chazy.
Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor charge that can carry as much as a year in prison per count.
Dr. Sarah McCarter of Palmer Veterinary Clinic in Beekmantown, who had done a preliminary assessment of the animals on Wednesday, further examined the cows on Friday, photographing them and labeling each one.
McCarter used a 1 to 5 scale to categorize the cows’ health.
A score of 5 would indicate a healthy cow, with a 1 describing an animal that was just barely alive, Favro said.
Most of the cows were found to be a 1.5, with some assessed at 2 or 2.5.
The sheriff said the McCarter told him 2.5 was a “generous” estimate for the healthier ones, however.
The investigation started on Valentine’s Day after the Sheriff’s Department received a complaint of animal neglect, Favro said, and paid a visit to the farm.
“As anyone would know, farmers work basically around the clock,” he said
But it had snowed recently, and officers didn’t see any evidence of anyone coming or going from the barn.
Guay was cooperative with deputies, who initially found a dead calf outside the barn and other downed bovines in the field behind the barn that were barely moving, Favro said.