Goats, Sheep, Tiny Donkeys Among 200 Animals Rescued From Squalid NJ Farm

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014  |  Updated 8:51 PM EDT
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The owners say they run an orphanage for animals but the couple might now be barred from owning them.  Brian Thompson reports.

The owners say they run an orphanage for animals but the couple might now be barred from owning them. Brian Thompson reports.

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Nearly 200 animals, including dozens of goats and sheep, peacocks, dogs and miniature donkeys, were rescued from what investigators describe as "deplorable" conditions at a southern New Jersey farm.

Authorities say several dead animals were also found on the Stillhouse Road property in Millstone Township; many of the carcasses were scattered around living animals. 

Officials responded to the farm Monday after getting tips about how the animals were treated and found about 100 goats, 80 sheep, six miniature donkeys, a mini horse, a full-sized horse, several chickens, turkeys, peacocks, dogs and cats living in poor condition. 

Authorities believe many of the dead animals were killed by this winter's extreme cold weather, and investigators say many of the living animals had no fresh water or the water in their buckets was frozen. 

The owner of the farm, 45-year-old Christoph Lance Vacarro, was arrested and will be charged with failing to provide proper care, not removing a dead animal carcass within 24 hours, and failing to provide clean fresh water, among other offenses. 

Information on an attorney for Vacarro wasn't immediately available.

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