Thief steals tiny stallion, fowl, rabbit

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TOWNSHEND -- When the owners of the Newfane Market woke up Sunday morning, they found an unusual spectacle outside their door.

Across the street, in front of the Windham County Court House on the Newfane Common, were about half a dozen chickens.

"It must have been about 5:30 (a.m.) because I remember waking up and hearing a rooster," said Jim Borta, owner of the Newfane Market, located on Route 30.

As it turned out, the chickens were taken from the home of Sara Bernard and her family, who live at the Newfane/Townshend town line near the River Bend Market, owned by Bernard and her father.

A local animal control officer and a Windham County Deputy Sheriff and his wife rounded up the chickens and returned them to their rightful owner. One of the birds escaped capture until later that day.

"They were able to get all but one rooster who eluded the law," said Borta.

One chicken was found inside a Route 30 mail box Monday morning, Bernard said, and there are still more than half a dozen missing.

Though chickens running free on the Newfane Common might sound amusing at first, it’s been a nerve-racking couple of days for Bernard.

Not only did the thieves steal 16 to 20 roosters and hens, but they took a 20-pound Flemish giant rabbit and a miniature stallion as well.

The intruders opened the doors to several other animals’ stalls but only took the chickens and the two other pets, which were being kept inside the barn.

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Bernard believes the animals were transported to Newfane in some sort of vehicle.

"I doubt that the chickens would travel the three and a half miles themselves," agreed Rod Inman, deputy sheriff at the Windham County Sheriff’s Department.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, nobody has come forward who witnessed the theft or the release of the animals. It’s thought that they were stolen Saturday night or very early Sunday morning.

The horse is about the size of a large German shepherd but wider, Bernard said, and could fit in a van, sports utility vehicle or possibly even a hatchback.

She added that one Newfane resident called her to report tracks in a back yard that looked like little hoof-prints.

Bernard said the tiny horse, named Hershey, is invaluable to her children. He has been a family pet for 10 years.

"He’s a stallion, so he can be pretty strong, but for the most part he’s pretty friendly and you can drag him wherever you want," Bernard said.

She fears that he might not be properly cared for. She said he spends most of the time in the barn and "needs to eat his hay every day, of course."

"He’s just a fat, fluffy pony with lots of hair," she said, adding that he’s in his late teens and stands about 35 inches tall. He is brown with a lighter brown mane and tail.

The incident is still under investigation by the Windham County Sheriff’s Department, and anyone with any information is asked to contact Deputy Sheriff Rod Inman at 802-365-4941.

Jaime Cone can be reached at jcone@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.


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