A week or so ago, the state Department of Agriculture sent animal control officers to collect abused creatures at a North Haven far. But only two of the three Scottish Highland cattle, primitive looking, shaggy-furred beasts with long horns, went along. One went skating across the frozen field and it wasn’t captured until a few days later. They’re big enough that if they don’t want to get captured, they won’t.
Anyway, that was a little background for you to consider as you digest this news release that just came over from Attorney General Dick Blumenthal.
“Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today filed a motion for custody of dozens more animals seized from the property of a man recently arrested for separate animal cruelty charges related to a North Haven farm, and who has a long record of animal cruelty cases in Connecticut.
Blumenthal, on behalf of the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) is seeking permanent state custody of the latest seized animals, restitution for the costs of caring for the animals and an order barring animal owner Paul Novicki from owning or possessing any animals going forward.
Collectively over the last several years, the state has seized approximately 178 neglected animals belonging to Novicki.
“We are asking the court to stop a serial animal abuser — someone who has repeatedly neglected animals and wasted state resources through numerous and large-scale animal seizures,” Blumenthal said. “We are fighting to protect and permanently take these latest animals seized, obtain money for their care and block harm to future animals.”
Commissioner of Agriculture, F. Philip Prelli, said, “I applaud efforts to treat all violators of animal cruelty laws, especially repeat offenders, seriously.” He also lauded the efforts of state and local animal control officers, as well as public safety officials and all those involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of these animals.
The DoAg, on Jan. 14 and Jan. 22, collectively seized two horses, two mules, two burros, three cows, two dogs, 15 chickens, 26 rabbits, three pheasants, six ducks and one cat from Novicki’s property at 50 Doolittle Lane, Hamden.
Blumenthal alleges that Novicki’s horses, mules and other animals were found roaming the nearby Hamden neighborhoods approximately 25 times since 2007, in at least one case resulting in a motor vehicle crash involving a horse.
On multiple recent inspections, animal control officers also found that Novicki’s animals had no food or water access, and some of the animals required veterinary care. At least one dead and decomposed rabbit was found in a dirty shed that was filled with feces and dirty hay and contained a loaded firearm.
A hearing on this latest case is scheduled for Feb. 8 in Hartford Superior Court.
Novicki has repeatedly faced criminal animal neglect and cruelty charges over the years, including one that recently resulted in the confiscation of several dozen animals from the Rambling Ranch farm in North Haven. The cases, starting as far back as 2003, include:
- In 2003, the state seized and ultimately won permanent custody of neglected animals from Novicki, including 27 horses, one mule and one cow. Novicki entered a plea of two counts of cruelty to animals in that case.
- Novicki was criminally convicted on one count of animal cruelty in 2006 after the state again seized one horse, one donkey, one mule, seven chickens and 18 chicks owned by Novicki.
- In 2008, Novicki was criminally convicted a third time of one count of animal cruelty after the state seized and won permanent custody of more animals belonging to Novicki, including five horses, three mules, 38 rabbits, two chickens, two ducks and three pheasants.
- And most recently, Novicki was arrested for six counts of animal cruelty after the state seized animals that Novicki was boarding at a North Haven farm, including four horses and two mules. In that ongoing case, Rambling Ranch farm owner Gina-Lee Rapuano also faces charges. In this case, the state seized a total of 19 horses, three mules, one goat, two guinea pigs, two rabbits, two doves, one parakeet, two ferrets and four dogs. The state has received permanent custody of most of the animals, and is pursuing custody of the rest.”