Lisa Lind-Larsen, the Redding woman whose two mustang horses were seized from her property in July by the Department of Agriculture, was in court on Thursday, Sept. 4, to regain custody of her horses. However, the judge did not make a ruling at the end of the hearing.
Ms. Lind-Larsen is also blaming a previous complaint made against the animal control officer as the reason her horses were seized.
According to Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, she attended the hearing at Hartford County Courthouse “to make sure” that Ms. Lind-Larsen did not regain custody of the two mustangs, Chinook and Cheyenne.
The horses were seized from the Packer Brook Road home in July after the Department of Agriculture and state animal control officer Nancy Jarvis received a photo of the horses looking severely emaciated. The horses were taken to a state facility in Niantic where they were treated by veterinarians and are being brought back to the proper weight and health.
Ms. Lind-Larsen was charged with two counts of animal cruelty and is due in Danbury Superior Court on Sept. 17. Ms. Lind-Larsen pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Ms. Feral said Friends of Animals reached out to the Department of Agriculture “to support the recovery of Chinook and Cheyenne, and to assist in finding them a permanent home at a sanctuary.”
After a full day of court proceedings, Ms. Feral said the judge did not arrive at any decision. She said Ms. Lind-Larsen, Ms. Jarvis and a state veterinarian all testified.
“In my opinion, Nancy Jarvis and the state veterinarian were very convincing and repeated words over and over again that had weight,” said Ms. Feral.
She said Ms. Jarvis and the vet said that the horses were emaciated and in dire straits.
“They’ve done so much better in Niantic since they were removed and cared for properly,” she said.
Ms. Lind-Larsen said in a sworn affidavit that one of the main reasons for the horses’ health decline was a property dispute that denied horses their grazing pasture. The dispute also caused problems with Ms. Lind-Larsen’s driveway access and she said she wasn’t able to get the proper hay delivered.
Ms. Lind-Larsen has had the two horses since 2004 when she acquired them from the Bureau of Land Management. But it wasn’t until 2010 when the buyer of tax liens to the property where the horses grazed had cut off access to Ms. Lind-Larsen’s driveway and the grazing pasture and the horses could no longer get proper food.
In a letter sent to The Pilot and other news outlets, Ms. Lind-Larsen said, “It appears that contrary to previous state policy of lending assistance to Connecticut property owners facing health issues of their horses or other problems associated with the horses and their care, and helping the owners solve the issues whenever possible, the policy now appears to be to seize the horses in a for profit business set up.”
Ms. Lind-Larsen claims that in her pending case, “the issues are disparity in municipal department data bases, violations of town regulations, the general statutes, and Connecticut standards of title in the context of taxation, the prior administration’s failure to take corrective action, causing my horses to be deprived of their pasture, access for ingress and egress to my house and horse barn to be obstructed and cut off, causing me to lose control over the regular care of the horses.”
She said she made “several dozen” phone calls and letters for assistance from the administration, town police, the attorney general’s office, and the state Animal Control Division that went unanswered.
Ms. Lind-Larsen is also blaming a separate case with the animal control officer as “retribution” for the seizure of her horses.
In March, Ms. Lind-Larsen’s Airedale puppy had found a dead raccoon in her yard. The raccoon tested positive for rabies, she said.
The dog was then taken to be quarantined for six months. Ms. Lind-Larsen said she “could not believe [the dog] was not vaccinated by the breeder.”
Ms. Lind-Larsen said she had made arrangements to send the dog to the breeder to be quarantined but Redding’s animal control officer ignored those arrangements and took the dog to the pound.
The dog was then to moved Newtown Animal Care and Control Center. The dog’s six-month quarantine expires on Sept. 23.
In a letter to The Pilot dated Sept. 5, Ms. Lind-Larsen said the dog dragged the dead raccoon onto her lawn on March 23 and she contacted animal control, “which was the right thing to do.”
“I had the raccoon tested. Test came back positive. On April 15, the puppy was seized by animal control officer Jarvis. The long and the short of it is, that the puppy has spent the most formative period of his life quarantined in isolation at Newtown Animal Care and Control Center, although he was never bitten, which is the only way to contract the virus. Statutory six month quarantine is up on Sept. 23 at which time he is required to be released. Since the puppy has remained healthy and thriving at Newtown, he could have been released after three months,” said Ms. Lind-Larsen.
“I believe that my complaint about the animal control officer’s handling of that matter to her superiors, the attorney general, as well as the Governor’s office, caused retribution and the seizure of my Mustangs and the media staged circus on July 10. While I very much welcome the help in restoring the usual good health and condition of my Mustangs, I expect them to be returned to their barn in due course,” she said.
As to finding out if and when Ms. Lind-Larsen may regain custody of the horses, the court has ordered briefs to be filed by Oct. 24 and reply briefs to be filed by Nov. 7.