Vilmaria Maldonado, of Lowell, shows off her pet goats that also serve as therapy animals for her nonprofit. Maldonado was ordered by the state Department of Agricultural Resources to either slaughter or humanely euthanize the goats due to their classification as “slaughter-only” goats. AARON CURTIS/LOWELL SUN
State euthanizes Tewksbury goats
TEWKSBURY — An order calling for the slaughter of Lowell resident Vilmaria Maldonado’s three pet goats was carried out last week.
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources officials, along with a state veterinarian and local police, seized the goats from Oliveira Farm in Tewksbury on Aug. 19; the animals were then “humanely euthanized and their remains properly and safely disposed of,” said MDAR spokesperson Craig Gilvarg.
A tearful Maldonado was in disbelief moments after learning her approximately 8-month-old goats — which she named George Washington, Republican and Democrat — had been euthanized on Thursday.
“These goats I nurtured and I raised,” she said. “Baby goats are called kids, and I understand why now. They are like children to me.”
The details leading to the demise of the goats was provided in a document given to The Sun by the MDAR on Thursday. The document details violations of the goats’ quarantine order and activities by Maldonado and David Oliveira that state officials said posed serious risks to public health.
The paperwork also claims Maldonado and David Oliveira illegally purchased a fourth goat from a livestock auction in Littleton on July 27. According to Gilvarg, that fourth goat was later “found in its pen dead and covered in feces” at Oliveira Farm.
The state first issued a slaughter order to Maldonado regarding her goats on July 9. The order was issued after an MDAR inspector observed the three goats at the farm, located at 199 Marston St. Due to the goats’ classification as “slaughter-only” livestock, it was determined the farm was in violation of federal regulations. The notice gave Maldonado 72 hours to carry out the order.
Katie Gronendyke, communications director for the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, explained the slaughter order in an email to The Sun on July 11.
“The goats were imported into Massachusetts from other states with no Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI), which automatically deems them as ‘slaughter-only’ under federal regulations,” Gronendyke said, referencing information provided by the goats’ ear tags. “Slaughter-only is a defined term and means they must be slaughtered and processed within 72 hours. This designation cannot be undone.”READ MORE