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Adopt one or more of these ‘extremely rare’ Irish Kerry cattle

The animals, along with one Holstein cow and 22 goats, were found following an investigation into animal cruelty at an Amherst property.

The Nevins Farm staff hope adopters will step forward to adopt one or some of the animals. MSPCA-Angell

Eight very rare cattle are going up for adoption at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm following an animal cruelty case.

The Kerry cattle, along with one Holstein cow and 22 goats, were found following an investigation at an Amherst property on March 14 and have since been recovering at the facility in Methuen.

A veterinarian noted that the animals were “severely neglected and malnourished” and infected with parasites.

Three animals—one cow and two goats—were found suffering and had to be euthanized at the scene, according to the MSPCA.

The owner of the property, Shannon Rice-Nichols of Hadley, will be arraigned on 35 counts of animal cruelty in Eastern Hampshire District Court on May 12.

Tom Grenham, director of law enforcement at the MSPCA, said his team responded to a request from the Amherst animal welfare officer last month.

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“It was very clear upon arrival that the animals were in very serious trouble, with one cow having already died and the others in need of dire medical attention,” he said.

“Unfortunately, our team was unable to save three animals who needed to be humanely euthanized by a veterinarian on the scene, which reinforces the disturbing nature of the case,” Grenham said.

Some of the Saanen, Lamancha and Alpine-mix goats are also going up for adoption.

“Unfortunately half of the goat herd tested positive for an infectious disease called Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) and had to be humanely euthanized,” said Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs at the MSPCA-Angell. “The remaining herd members that tested negative are considered exposed to CAE, but are thriving.  We’ll be making the remaining herd available for adoption at a farm in which they can be the only goats and sheep on the property.” 

The cows are most likely descendants of the Celtic Shorthorn, which were brought to Ireland as early as 2000 B.C., according to the American Kerry Cattle Association.

“We are working closely with the American Kerry Cattle Association now to help identify an adopter to ensure these individual animals will be well cared for and to aid in the preservation of this majestic breed,” Keiley said.  “We’re excited that the work we have done to protect and care for these animals may also prevent this breed of cattle from going extinct.”

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Anyone interested in adopting these animals can contact the farm at mspca.org/nevinsadopt

The Amherst Police Department and the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources’ Division of Animal Health assisted the MSPCA in the investigation.

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