Local

Lowell woman’s goats euthanized by state after month-long battle

Vilmaria Maldonado was fined $2,000 for violating state orders.

Maldonado's goats were killed on August 19th after they were deemed a risk to the health of humans. Erin Clark/Globe Staff

After a month-long fight, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources confiscated and euthanized a Lowell woman’s three pet goats, according to officials.

“On August 19, 2021, state officials from MDAR, accompanied by a state veterinarian and local police, seized the animals and transported them off the property where they were humanely euthanized, and their remains properly and safely disposed of,” MDAR spokesperson Craig Gilvarg wrote in an email.

The goats’ owner Vilmaria Maldonado was ordered by officials in July to kill her goats after they were identified as “slaughter only” animals. This designation – which officials say cannot be undone – means the goats were brought into Massachusetts for slaughter and cannot be kept as pets.

Advertisement:

She was ordered to isolate and then kill the goats within 72 hours due to the potential health risks, since domesticated animals require different veterinarian requirements from slaughter animals.

“After the owners’ failure to comply with federal law and a direct order to euthanize the remaining three goats, MDAR provided the owners with written notice that their failure to comply would result in additional enforcement action,” Gilvarg wrote.

“It has been so ever hard, I have been emotional during this whole process my family and friends has been trying to be supportive,” Maldonado wrote in an email. “They don’t understand they were more than animals to me.”

On July 7, MDAR officials visiting Oliveira Farm asked to see the paperwork of three goats — named Republican, Democrat, and George Washington — after noticing their ear-tags were from out of state. Maldonado’s boyfriend David Oliveira – whose family owns the farm – bought her the goats as a gift.

Oliveira was unable to provide paperwork. When asked who he got the goats from, he reportedly said he did not remember, but knew he bought them from a trailer near a livestock market.

The next day, Maldonado and Oliveira received their first notice regarding the 72-hour euthanization order. Meanwhile, authorities from the state and federal agriculture departments investigated the goats’ origins, which pushed the timeline back a few weeks.

Lowell goats

Authorities finished tracebacks on the goats by July 16 and confirmed they had arrived from Maine and Pennsylvania.

Advertisement:

“ALL ANIMALS ARE SOLD FOR SLAUGHTER ONLY” was written on the invoices of the initial sales, which were provided by MDAR.

While investigating the three goats, a United States Department of Agriculture veterinarian also witnessed Maldonado purchasing a fourth slaughter-only baby goat. Authorities found her keeping the goat in a pen with no food and water, and a few weeks later, an inspector found the same goat “dead and covered in feces” in a pen at the farm.

A veterinarian examination of the original three goats revealed they were infected with parasites, which is a risk to other goats and humans, according to MDAR. The vet reported goats were “sick, underweight, and parasitized” and determined they also had pneumonia.

A later examination found the goats’ health was worsening.

Gilvarg also wrote that authorities had previously investigated “ponies that appeared thin” at the Oliveira Farm, which is one reason they were at the farm when they discovered the illegal goats.

Records provided by MDAR revealed Maldonado was found violating the goats’ quarantine on multiple occasions, such as taking the goats off the required premises and allowing the public — including a child — to pet the goats. Tweets show her bringing the goats to the 99 Restaurant in early August.

Advertisement:

In a previous interview, Maldonado told Boston.com she was using the goats as therapy animals for her nonprofit, Advocates for Authenticity Charitable Fund Inc. In the MDAR records, the state reported this nonprofit is not registered to do business in Massachusetts.

Another tweet posted during the ordered quarantine showed Maldonado bringing her goats to other people for a “session of therapy.” Maldonado also started a GoFundMe, where she raised $1,045.

Maldonado and Oliveira were fined a total of $2,000. She received three $500 fines for breaking each goats’ quarantine and then a $500 fine for purchasing and keeping a fourth slaughter goat as a pet.

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com