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SPCA: 11 more farm animals rescued in Old Westbury

A screen shot from News 12 Long Island

A screen shot from News 12 Long Island of the Nassau SPCA removing one of 11 animals at Merin Farm in Old Westbury, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Credit: News 12 Long Island

Eleven more farm animals were rescued from a farm in Old Westbury early Saturday, four months after 25 animals had been seized and the property owner charged with animal cruelty, authorities said.

A warrant was issued to take the goats, sheep, ducks and rabbits to the Double D Bar Ranch in Manorville, which provides homes for abused or unwanted farm animals, said Bob Sowers, a detective from the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Village of Old Westbury police officers were also on site during the raid, a police official said.

“The existing animals were not being fed, the water was rancid and feces not picked up,” Sowers said.

Michael Dombek, 54, owner of Merin Farm, was arrested on Aug. 18 and arraigned on 25 counts of torturing and injuring animals. That case is pending in Nassau First District Court. He has been released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Thursday, according to online court records. No new charges were issued Saturday, Sowers said.

During an inspection in August — a surprise Sowers said was prompted by complaints from former farm employees — officials found excessive manure, slimy water and debris.

The animals, including horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, geese, rabbits and dogs, had been starved and injured, some with infected hoofs, the office of acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said at the time.

Dombek’s attorney, Howard Arber of Hempstead, did not return a request for comment Saturday. Arber previously defended Dombek’s caretaking, saying “the charges are groundless” and that the animals had been “properly fed and taken care of” and were “under constant care by a veterinarian.”

Sowers said the county SPCA had been appointed as guardian of sorts after Dombek’s arrest to conduct daily visits to the farm. Several weeks ago, Dombek complained to a judge that the visits were “intimidating,” Sowers said, and the judge reduced the number of site visits to twice a week.

After help arrived early Saturday, the animals began “eating like crazy,” Sowers said. “We were feeding them, and they were eating like it was the Last Supper.”

Singas said in a statement Saturday that her office is “working with local partners and using every tool at our disposal to make sure these animals get the care they need while this case remains open.”

CORRECTION: Hempstead attorney Howard Arbor no longer represents the owner of Merin Farm in Old Westbury. A story Sunday incorrectly identified his status.

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