MASSENA Animals on the farm of the late James A. Farbotnik are being transferred to the care of Nicole Harvey, a neighbor and friend of the Farbotnik family who owns a hobby farm.
When Mr. Farbotnik, 57, died Nov. 13, he left a variety of animals on his farm at 355 Route 37C. His five children have been placed in foster care.
Hugh Blain, the dog control officer for the town and Brasher and a backup for the Massena Humane Societys dog control effort in the town of Massena, initially stepped in to take care of the animals, a task that he said has no end in sight.
When he was contacted by state police about the animals following Mr. Farbotniks death, Mr. Blain found a field of animals that included 11 miniature horses, three cows, five pigs, nine piglets, six chickens, eight ducks, seven dogs, three rabbits that I cant catch and more than 35 cats, all needing attention.
Its great that Ms. Harvey is stepping forward, according to Heidi Bradish, director of the Massena Humane Society, which will help provide food and equipment for the animals. She has a lot of experience with animals. Shell be the perfect person.
Ms. Harvey said she will care for the animals until the Farbotnik estate is settled.
Hopefully, some kind of conclusion is reached shortly about whats going to happen with the animals, she said. For now, Im going to do the best I can to financially cover anything.
Ms. Harvey said she would accept food donations for the animals through the Massena Humane Society.
Neighbor and friend Scott DeShane said he will help Ms. Harvey take care of the animals and donate hay.
Ill feed them as long as I have to, Mr. DeShane said. Ill help those kids take care of those animals.
Ms. Harvey and Mr. DeShane said they were close friends with Mr. Farbotnik.
If he needed someone to watch his children, the children were always more than welcome at my house, Ms. Harvey said. If I needed hay, he would bring me hay. If I needed a fence fixed, he and his oldest son were right there to help.
Mr. Blain went to the Town Council for guidance Wednesday night regarding a scheduled electricity shut-off at the Farbotnik farm. A shut-off would have complicated feeding and might have allowed the animals to escape from the electrical fence that surrounds the farm.
Mr. Blain said he worked with Massena town attorney Eric J. Gustafson to resolve the issue with the Massena Electric Department. Mr. Blain could not provide specifics as to who is footing the power bill.