More than 200 Birds from Historic Mass. Cockfighting Bust Now Placed with Sanctuaries, Adoptive Homes

MSPCA-Nevins Farms Pulls Out all the Stops to Re-Home Hens, Young Roosters

BOSTON and Methuen, Mass., July 5, 2018 – It’s been five weeks since the MSPCA-Nevins Farm announced it had taken in 423 birds from a Northampton, Mass. property after local police raided the buildings located at the Ravenwold Greenhouses on Florence Road.

And today more than 200 of the birds are resting at sanctuaries or have been placed with private adopters who have experience and appropriate housing to care for the birds.

The MSPCA contacted no fewer than 50 sanctuaries along the entire East coast, from Massachusetts to Florida, to determine whether any were in a position to take in some of the birds.  And several volunteered to do so.

The Vine Sanctuary, located in Springfield, Vermont, took 136 roosters, hens and chicks.  One rooster and 10 hens have gone to the Tomten Farm & Sanctuary in Haverhill, New Hampshire.

An additional 63 birds have been sent to other sanctuaries and private adopters and Elizabeth Monteith, manager of the equine and farm animal programs at Nevins Farm, is relieved and grateful that the story has concluded more favorably than she and her team initially thought possible.

“At the end of the day these birds are not appropriate pets for most homes.  We couldn’t have imagined at the start of this that we would find suitable living spaces for any of them, let alone more than 200,” she said.

A total of 193 roosters were humanely euthanized by MSPCA-Nevins Farm staffers. “It’s extremely difficult for us to euthanize these birds but we take solace in knowing we saved them from deplorable conditions and a brutal death at the hands of their abusers—and we’re so happy we found options for over 200 thanks to some great animal welfare organizations,” added Monteith.

The MSPCA-Nevins Farm made the birds as comfortable as possible during the time they spent on the farm.  The large barn at the front of the property was closed to the public and exclusively used to house the birds, and the birds were provided enriching perks like treat balls, toys, perches and—as they became available—larger crates and even nesting boxes.

Donations of kale, blueberries and other treats poured in from the community and staffers and volunteers ensured every bird had the chance to feast on as much of these foods as they could consume.

Now that the last of the surviving birds have left the farm, the staff is getting back to business as usual.  The cages used to individually house the roosters have been returned to other animal welfare organizations who lent them and three new adoptable horses have moved into the barn, filling space once occupied by roosters.

“This was one of the hardest cases we’ve ever dealt with and not just because the number of animals was so high,” said Monteith.  “Our teams were tireless in demonstrating compassion for every single bird in our care—even those we ultimately could not place—and the birds’ needs for enrichment, comfort and nourishing food remained our number one priority.  We’re very grateful that those we could re-home will have a bright future beyond our borders.”


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