CANAJOHARIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – What started as a complaint of animal mistreatment ended with the seizure of over 60 animals from a farm in Canajoharie. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint about a cow that was found nearly dead on the farming property on March 30. During their investigation of the initial complaint, the animal died.

Carolee A. Start, 85, Canajoharie

The farm’s owner, Carolee A. Start, 85, was located and advised that the animal would need to be properly disposed of. A follow-up was conducted to ensure the carcass was properly taken care of, and at that time several animals were seen on the property that police say did not appear to be in good health.

As the investigation continued, several other dead animals were found on the property that had not been properly disposed of per Agricultural and Markets law. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office with help from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and the Montgomery County SPCA then moved to seize the remaining animals owned by Start.

During the investigation, over 20 cattle and one donkey were found dead on the property and not properly disposed of. A warrant of seizure for Start’s other animals was granted by the Town of Canajoharie Court and over the course of three days over 40 cattle, 13 donkeys, and eight miniature horses were seized by the Sheriff’s Office and the SPCA. They have all been relocated to farms throughout the area to be evaluated.

At the time of the seizure, police say the animals looked underfed, the horses and donkeys’ hooves were in need of attention, and they all had trouble walking properly. Start was arrested after the investigation.


  • Agricultural and Markets Law Section 353: Overdriving, torturing, and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance (Misdemeanor)
  • Agricultural and Markets Law Section 377: Disposal of dead animals (Violation)

Start was issued an appearance ticket and will appear in the Town of Canajoharie Court at a later date. This investigation is still ongoing.