…or foreclosed on it, to be more accurate, and now the former owner is saying Wells has left a lot of hungry critters in their wake.
At first, Dan MacKenzie, the evicted owner of Bonniedale Farms, thought the bank was letting people carry off his livestock willy-nilly:
Guy Settipane, the lawyer for Dan MacKenzie, said his client became concerned Tuesday morning after neighbors described chaotic conditions on the property on Snake Hill Road. He said MacKenzie became alarmed when he went to the site and saw, from a distance, “total strangers walking off with his animals.”
[President of the RISPCA, when investigating]: “Being here today, I know there are not as many animals as there were [Monday]. Two llamas are gone. A turkey is gone. Some waterfowl have left, as well as a number of pot-bellied pigs. I don’t know where the animals went, or who took them. I saw people walking around the farm yesterday and have no idea who they were. I’m told that truck with the name Pot Belly Pig Manor came and took some of the pigs.
“But my impression is that these animals are still the property of Mr. MacKenzie, and that he is entitled to reclaim his animals at any time.”
That would suck enough to think that the bank wasn’t properly securing your four-legged assets. They could be ending up who knows where. But MacKenzie and the RISPCA have reason to believe it’s been far worse for the animals that are actually still on the farm:
[MacKenzie’s lawyer] said his main concern was for the animals — including cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, horses, sheep, goats and others — that he said had been left to fend for themselves despite assurances by Wells Fargo that it had arranged to have the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals take care of them.
Tuesday, RISPCA president Dr. Ernest Finocchio confirmed some of MacKenzie’s fears, saying that the bank said it didn’t want the organization’s help. When he visited the site Tuesday, he said that at least some of the animals — eight horses and two 800-pound pigs — had not been given any water even though he had been told that they had.
The buckets next to each stall were still empty in mid-afternoon, and little pointers he had placed on the doors to show whether the stalls were opened were found to be undisturbed, he said. But the clearest sign that the horses had not been watered was when he took a five-gallon bucket and placed it in front of each horse.
Seven of the eight horses drank up the water with no hesitation, an indication to him that they had not been given any water in a long time. He and Joseph Warycha, RISPCA’s animal cruelty officer, gave each horse a bucket of water and some hay.
Then, he said, he went to two of the very large pigs, and “they nearly tore the bucket out of my hand. You don’t have to be a genius to know that an animal like that is thirsty.”
Now, MacKenzie is suing to order Wells to feed his pigs. At this point, the Rhode Island state veterinarian has contacted the Texas-based agency hired by Wells, Field Asset Services, and encouraged them to hire local vet school students to make sure these horses and pigs get some chow, but it sounds like the deal is up in the air and that the agency is still trying to negotiate a rate. Really — seriously — should it take community outrage and the threat of a lawsuit to get some grain in the belly of a pig?