METHUEN — Nevins Farm welcomed a barnyard full of new boarders yesterday — from mini horses to Nigerian Dwarf goats — which were taken from a Southwick farm.
The western Massachusetts farm owners voluntarily surrendered more than 100 animals in what officials are calling a hoarding case.
Two tan mini stallions, 15 sheep, five goats and 12 chickens and roosters will shack up at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Nevins Farm on Broadway. The rest will go to an animal care and adoption center in Springfield.
"There were just too many animals on that farm," said Melissa Ghareeb, Nevins' farm manager. "The owner just became overwhelmed with the numbers. ... But I think she really cared about the animals she had."
Because the animals were given up voluntarily, the owners will not be prosecuted or identified publicly, an MSPCA policy.
Ghareeb said in a lot of these cases, if the owner is cooperating and the animals are in decent shape, it is better to take the animals than to fight it out in court. In some other cases, it is necessary to prosecute.
"We had some horses that were in limbo for three years," she said. "You couldn't do anything with them, couldn't adopt them. The court views them as property."
The animals will be ready for adoption once they are examined, receive their vaccinations and are brought back to a healthy weight. Ghareeb said the two stallions — Prince, 7, and Buddy, 10 — are in "decent" condition and are very personable.
The sheep and goats, on the other hand, came in the worst condition. Some of the sheep need to be shorn and a few goats look like they may have broken or sprained legs. Others are stunted in growth, their heads too large for their bodies.
"But get them out in the grass, and they'll blow right up," said Roger Lauze, the equine ambulance coordinator at Nevins.
State law requires the fowl to be quarantined while they are tested for avian influenza before they can be put up for adoption.
With the latest acquisitions, Nevins farm is now at capacity, with 22 horses, three pigs, and a number of other barnyard animals.
Unlike the shelter's dogs and cats, these animals don't see such a quick turnaround.
"They tend to stay a little longer at the farm animal shelter," Ghareeb said. "It depends when the right person comes around."
But Pam Nixon, the assistant farm manager, thinks these newcomers will have better luck.
"These guys aren't going to stay here long," she said, fawning over one of the 3-month-old Nigerian Dwarf goats in her arms.
r For information on adoption or to make a donation, call 978-687-7453.
r The Equine Center and Farm Animal Care and Adoption Center is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.