Seven teenagers in New Jersey have been charged after a farm owner said some of the animals in his petting zoo were terrorized by a group of people who allegedly broke onto his property and abused them, including by putting lipstick on a miniature pony.
Wyckoff police say an 18-year-old man, three 17-year-old young men and three 17-year-old young women were charged with trespassing, criminal mischief, and overloading animals in connection to last month's incident on Abma's Farm, a beloved Bergen County mainstay.
Police did not release any other details but farm owner Jimmy Abma told NBC New York in August that the incident forced him to close the zoo for a day so a veterinarian could examine the animals.
"All the gate were opened and the pens. A couple of the animals we couldn't even get close to, they were all skittish," Abma said.
He said he was tipped off to the disturbance after receiving a Snapchat photo of what appears to be a teenage girl riding one of his miniature donkeys. The photo was geotagged with the location of the farm.
"They're not ridden, and the fact that they were riding them last night is a health issue. It's a structural issue," Abma said.
Abma said one of his miniature ponies had some sort of lipgloss or lipstick across its face, and it was one of the most spooked out of all the animals. Some of the animals were missing because the pens were left open but they were all accounted for as of Sunday. Abma also says two of the trespassers were also trying to steal something from the property.
It's not the first time people have trespassed on the county's farmlands, according to Abma. He says he gets trespassers nearly on a daily basis.
"It's not just here. It's not just us here in our petting zoo. This goes on throughout the country. People trample all over farmland and don't care," the farmer said.