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March 25. 2013 10:07PM

Large animal census to help with IDs in Farmington

FARMINGTON - Last year it was feral cats. This year it's large animals.

"I had an incident just a few days ago of three loose horses running on a main road; luckily, I recognized them and was able to get them safely home," Animal Control Officer Kate Koval said Monday. "Horses and cows unfortunately don't come with tags."

Koval is compiling a database of large animals from local farms annd properties "to have accurate information in case we have an incident of large animals getting loose, or in the event of a natural disaster, and we had to identify animals."

Last year, the town put in place a program to deal with a plethora of stray or feral cats after a rabid one bit a woman around her home in the downtown area.

Koval said in an e-mail that there are enough cows, horses, chickens, goats, sheep and some donkeys to make the latest project worth it.

"Again, it's voluntary, but we're doing this more for the benefit of the animal and the owner, not to try and get someone in trouble," Koval said.

Koval said police are also looking for volunteers, especially people who have experience with large animals, to assist officers. She said residents with horse trailers or space in their stable would be especially useful.

Residents can find the large animal registration form on the department's website: http://farmingtonpd.com.

Completed forms should be dropped off at the police station or e-mailed to her at kkoval@farmingtonpd.com.

In nearby Milton, Police Chief Mark McGowan said he'll be watching to see whether the program becomes successful.

"It's not a bad idea," McGowan said, adding Milton police have "wrangled up" loose horses in the recent past.

Regardless of the emergency - whether it's a horse is trotting down a road or stuck on some ice - he said animals present unique challenges.

"It's very hard to transport them without the right equipment," McGowan said.

jquinn@newstote.com


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