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Farm owner denies cruelty charges; about 1,400 animals found

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The owner of a Massachusetts farm where authorities say they found about 1,400 animals in overcrowded, overheated and dangerous living conditions has pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Richard Medeiros entered the plea Wednesday in Bristol Superior Court. The 83-year-old owner of Westport Tenant Farm and more than 20 tenants face multiple animal cruelty charges in the case.

The investigation began in July 2016 when police were called about allegations of animal cruelty at the 70-acre farm in Westport.

Authorities say hundreds of animals were kept in “deplorable and dangerous” conditions, with inadequate food, water or shelter. They say many of the animals were suffering from severe health ailments and had to be euthanized.

The animals included dogs, cats, cows, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and rabbits.

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