Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Connecticut: Seven years after family brought Red and Frosty, their pet Scottish Highland cows home, town gives them an ultimatum

CONNECTICUT -- An East Granby family who saved a pair of cows from death is now battling with their town.

“We rescued them from going to slaughter,” said Angelica Banning.

She and her parents bought the Scottish Highland cattle seven years ago. They were skinny once, but after nursing Red and Frosty back to health, the family has run into a roadblock with the town.

The family has lived in their home for 22 years and say they've had no problems until recently.

They have a unique situation, as their property is in two towns, and they don't want to lose what they've worked so hard to have.

Their property is split between Suffield and East Granby, and according to East Granby’s laws, the shelter for the cows was built too close to the road, and needs to be moved 16 feet, but to have cattle, 3 acres of land is needed.

“They've been here for seven years and now it's a problem that we don't have enough land in East Granby for them,” Angelica Banning said.

The family owns less than a half-acre in East Granby. In Suffield, they own about 2-and-a-half acres, and lease out more acreage behind the home.

According to the town of Suffield, a minimum of 5 acres is required.

But that's not all. East Granby officials have documentation that shows over the years residents have called the town to complain about cattle being in muddy wetlands during the spring, or not having enough shelter.

“They're very strong animals too. They can handle the mud, they can handle the rain. Their coat is so thick, nothing seems to bother them, not even a snow storm,” Angelica Banning said.

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According to the American Highland Cattle Association, the Highland breed has lived for centuries in the rugged remote Scottish Highlands. The extremely harsh conditions created a process of natural selection, where only the fittest and most adaptable animals survived to carry on the breed.

Their hair is always long, sometimes reaching about 13 inches, with a slight wave. Since their coat is double-layered, the outer hair is oiled to prevent rain seeping into their skin, while the downy undercoat provides warmth during the rough and rainy Scottish winters.

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The state’s Department of Agriculture got involved, and the family said they were told to build shelter in an area that sits in East Granby. They said they did what they were told.

“It's my fault for not getting a permit. All the entities have been speaking for seven years so I assumed everyone was on the same page,” Deborah Banning said.

East Granby has given them an ultimatum, saying to move the shed and the cows, but the family says one can't be moved without the other.

There is a zoning board meeting Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The topic will be brought up and the family is expected to speak.


(WFSB - February 6, 2017)