Falmouth Marine and Environmental Services reported that a horse got loose on Friday, April 2, and that its personnel returned it to Smithfield Farm, but farm owner Janice Foster said the horse is not hers.
The incident occurred less than a week after the board of health rescinded the farm’s stable license based on several health and safety concerns including an unsecure horse chorale.
According to Falmouth police, dispatch received a report of a horse loose in the backyard of a home at 850 Carriage Shop Road near Blueberry Lane. The home is adjacent to the farm property on Sandwich Road. Police notified MES, which captured the horse and returned it to Smithfield Farm.
MES Director Gregg Fraser said he alerted the board of health of the incident, as the board issues stable permits and regulations.
On Monday, Ms. Foster said the horse is not hers.
“I don’t even have a large gray horse and did not have any contact with police or MES on Friday,” she said. “They must have assumed it was mine because of my history, but it is not mine.”
“The horse was returned to Smithfield Farm so I don’t believe that is possible. I will send someone out to discuss it with her,” Mr. Fraser said in an email.
The board of health’s decision comes after a series of remote board of health hearings and visits to check on conditions at the farm and after a miniature horse escaped through the main gate in January and was struck and killed by a pickup truck on Sandwich Road. The incident renewed scrutiny of the farm at a time when past issues with sanitation, safety and animal welfare seemed to be moving toward resolution.
It was the second time in 17 days that police responded to reports of loose horses from the property. At least three other horses involved in the two incidents were led safely back to their paddocks. Mr. Fraser said his department has also responded to runaway horses from the property.
Board members said they had been working with Ms. Foster on ongoing issues like secure fencing, cleanliness of the stables, manure management and pest control, with little or no resolution.