Redding woman accused of neglecting 65 goats still charged with animal cruelty for now

A Redding woman accused of neglecting dozens of goats did not have the cases against her dismissed Monday as had been slated.

Marissa Alter

Apr 8, 2024, 11:12 PM

Updated 42 days ago


A Redding woman accused of neglecting dozens of goats did not have the cases against her dismissed Monday as had been slated. Nancy Burton is still charged with 65 counts of animal cruelty after a Danbury Superior Court judge withdrew his previous order which would’ve allowed the charges to be dropped.
Judge Maximino Medina made the decision following a motion by the Danbury State’s Attorney’s Office, after prosecutors learned not all the victims were notified about the offer made to Burton on March 7. On that day, jury selection was supposed to begin for Burton’s trial. Instead, Burton accepted an offer from Medina for a program called accelerated rehabilitation, which allows for cases to be erased. The judge's stipulations were that Burton couldn't get arrested, own goats or interfere with an animal control officer for 30 days. If successful, her record would be wiped clean, and she could own animals again.
“We did go through the first two prongs of the AR statue, but an essential component of the AR statute is that victims—and that term is defined very broadly by the statute—have an opportunity to be heard and to be properly notified,” Danbury State’s Attorney David Applegate said. “The town of Redding felt strongly that it should've had an opportunity to be heard, and they certainly were impacted from a victim's sense.”
Burton's legal battles over her goats have been going on for years with Redding and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. In March 2021, state investigators seized 65 goats from her property, alleging the animals were living in awful conditions with no running water. Court documents stated officials also found over 40 dead goats.
“We’re not backtracking on our recommendation of AR, but the town of Redding has input here that I think would be helpful to Your Honor in crafting the AR itself. I would ask for them to have an opportunity to be heard,” Applegate said.
But Burton argued that she’d followed the court’s conditions, and the agreement should be honored. She also called into question if town officials should have a say, adding she considers herself and the 65 goats the “primary victims.”
“If there was an aggrieved party in legal terms, at best it would be the state of Connecticut Department of Agriculture. They started this, and they were the complainant in this matter. They had a right to be informed. They agreed to this,” Burton countered.
Medina ruled in favor of the prosecution but explained it was for legal reasons, not the facts of the case.
“If the state were here today asking the court to vacate its previous order because it had a change of heart, the answer would be no. If the state were here asking for that ruling because they wanted to advance an argument that they could've advanced earlier but didn't, the answer would be no. But the state appeared before the court and filed this motion based on a very narrow premise, which is the victims’ rights, protected by the statute, must be honored.”
Medina set a hearing for May 14 to hear from the victims in the case. After that, he’ll determine whether to grant accelerated rehabilitation, and if so, what the conditions will be, including the length. Applegate told News 12 his office asked for a two-year program, but the judge chose 30 days, noting the case has dragged on due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Burton has stayed out of trouble since her arrest.
Redding First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton was in court Monday, along with Town Attorney Steve Stafstrom and a representative from the state Attorney General’s Office.
“I'm very pleased with the decision today, and it gives us the opportunity and any victim who wishes to speak to be heard on May 14 at the next hearing. So, I’m very thankful for the court for that opportunity,” Pemberton said after court.
Burton, who is representing herself, will also be allowed to address the judge at that hearing.
“I have a lot to say about all of this which I haven't said yet but will,” Burton said in court. “People just want to foment trouble and cause me more grief and frustration and sadness.”

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