Little Foot & Pal Rescued
by Melissa Bailey | Jul 17, 2012 12:45 pm
With the help of some sweet-talking and a leather belt, Rafael Ramos and crew rescued two goats and 24 sickly chickens from a Fair Haven Heights home, where they had been kept without food or water in a basement and feces-ridden bedroom.
The rescue took place Tuesday morning at 16 Rock Hill Rd., a short, dead-end street off of Lexington Avenue. Within an hour, the city and the landlords had freed the chickens and goats, which would be taken to recuperate at a suburban farm.
Ramos, deputy director of the Livable City Initiative (LCI), the city’s anti-blight agency, pulled up to the house at 10 a.m.
Ramos said LCI became aware of the illegal farm about a month and a half ago when neighbors complained of a foul stench and the presence of chickens and goats in the backyard. The smell became unbearable for the second-floor tenant.
City ordinance allows New Haveners to keep up to six chickens, but no roosters, goats or other farm animals. The tenant, Mike D’Antonio, promised to remove the animals six weeks ago, Ramos said.
Ramos said he gave the tenant several deadlines to evict the animals. Instead of removing the goats, D’Antonio brought the animals inside, according to Ramos.
So Ramos brought in his crew to get the job done Tuesday.
As Ramos waited for the landlord to show up, he made a phone call.
I’m looking for a crate to move some goats,” he said.
I’ve got a leash and a collar,” offered landlord Dave Quoka when he arrived.
They set to work entering the basement, where they suspected the animals might be.
I hear chickens, Quoka said as they opened the door.
There’s chickens all over the place” he reported from below. The stench of feces swiftly rose into the backyard.
Oh my God! There’s manure all over, Quoka called out from the basement.
He and LCI’s Mazzadra emerged with a cage of chickens.
The chickens were packed together, covered in feces, with no food or water. The only water dish had turned brown.
They pulled the cage into the shade.
Quoka emerged moments later with another chicken in his hand.
Meanwhile, Ramos got onto the phone and called tenant D’Antonio.
Mike, where are you? he asked. You’ve got to come to the house.
Where are the goats, Mike?” asked Ramos in a calm voice.
Mike. Mike. Mike, we need your help. You need to come to the house. We’ve got to get the goats out of here today.” The stench, he said, “is making it unbearable for the people upstairs.
Ramos learned that D’Antonio’s mother was inside the house and had not been answering the door. He got D’Antonio to convince her to open the door.
A reporter soon spotted a goat peering out of a first-floor window.
Ramos headed to the side door.
Can you come to the door please so we can talk? Ramos asked. D’Antonio’s mom opened up.
I’m very upset, she told him. We are going to get rid of all the animals.
We’re here to help you,” Ramos told her. He noted that the temperature—90 degrees—and the really unhealthy conditions for the animals in the basement .
“Bring the goats to the door so we can take them out,” Ramos coaxed. “We saw them peeping out the window.”
“What is the goat’s name?” Ramos asked.
The woman said she didn’t name them. She let Ramos in to see them.
He emerged shortly with his leather belt around the neck of a female goat.
As TV cameras rolled, he placed the goat into a pen full of tall grass.
Mazzadra picked up the second goat, an emaciated male, and placed him in the grass beside his companion.
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