The owner of a 14-acre farm on Uncle Pete’s Road in Hamilton has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty after investigators allegedly found dead ducks and chickens, ill chickens, and animals covered in feces on the property.
Residents had contacted the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and municipal officials to complain about conditions on the farm. The Mercer County Prosecutor’s new humane law enforcement united conducted an investigation and a search warrant was executed Aug. 21.
Detectives discovered 38 runner ducks in one duck coop. Two were dead. The ducks were covered in about six inches of feces, law enforcement officials said. Twelve chickens were found inside the abandoned house. Five were dead and another died while officials were securing the property.
In the chicken coop, detectives said they located approximately 54 chickens. One was dead. Officials said all of the chickens appeared to be infected with disease, and one had severe growths on its feet.
Nine pigs covered in feces were discovered in a garage-like structure on the property, officials said.
As investigators were working, Hamilton Township’s animal control officer received a call about a 500-pound hog from the property roaming the nearby neighborhood. Detectives, with the assistance of Hamilton Animal Control and Public Works employees, lured the hog back with food and secured it in a pen.
Officials said Mercer County has a historic preservation easement for the house on the property, which required the owner to maintain, preserve and protect the property’s historic character.
The owner of the farm, Henry Guzikowski Jr., 54, of Yardley, Pa., was charged with multiple counts of third- and fourth-degree animal cruelty. He was released pending future court proceedings and served with a court order prohibiting him from adding or removing any animals from the farm for 30 days.
According to property tax records and other records reviewed by Planet Princeton, Guzikowski purchased the property in 2014 for $165,000. The historic Zygmont Farm, built in 1741, was vacant at the time and the house needed a new roof. The property was sold at an auction.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture tested all of the ducks and chickens for various diseases. Homes are still needed for many of the rescued animals. Anyone interested in fostering or adopting should contact Sgt. Eric Hastings of the prosecutor’s Humane Law Enforcement Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or (609) 989-6063.
Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said municipal workers in Hamilton were able to secure all of the animals in makeshift pens and provide them with food, water and shelter. Workers constructed pens on site and have been taking care of the animals for a week. John Hart and Elizabeth Schreiber of Rosedale Mills in Pennington donated enough food to sustain all of the animals for a week.