MASSACHUSETTS -- More than 100 animals found living in filthy conditions have been ordered to be removed from an Ayer farm.
Emotions ran high during Thursday night's Ayer Town Hall meeting.
Neighbors said they're upset, and the Ayer Board of Selectmen and Board of Health convened to address a property that townspeople said has been a problem for years.
That property is owned by Ralph McNiff.
"The buildings located at the property are structurally unsound and constitute a danger to both people and animals residing on the property," Ayer town counsel Gregg Corbo said.
During an inspection of McNiff's farm at 64 Westford Road, pig troughs were seen filled with waste and debris. No food or water visible, cows were seen with matted fur standing in inches of manure.
Rat nests were located throughout the property, and officials said they discovered a dead piglet.
"Like 115 pigs and over 100 cattle," Corbo said. "Many of them showed signs of malnourishment or sickness."
A Board of Health inspector said about 80 animals already have been removed from the farm, but more than 100 remain.
So on Thursday night, both boards voted unanimously to issue an order of abatement.
That gives McNiff 24 hours to vacate the property and to begin to humanely remove the animals.
McNiff, who sat silently during the meeting, spoke up and blamed his son for the conditions on the farm.
"This problem that's happening right now is not me," he said. "It's my son."
The town said it would take legal action if the property owner doesn't comply with the abatement.
(WCVB - Dec 8, 2016)