Connecticut officials say they're trying to determine exactly how many and brought to North Stonington last week, Tiverton Patch is reporting.
Connecticut Department of Agriculture Spokesman George Krivda said Tuesday morning that Ledyard E. Lewis, of 273 Boom Bridge Road (Beriah-Lewis Farm), North Stonington, admitted to taking 12 cows. However, Arthur Lewis, owner of High View Farm in Tiverton, R.I., claims 18 were stolen. Lewis also claims to that he acted alone, stating he committed the theft because Smith owed him money for feed.
An additional 14 cows have "come into the picture," Krivda noted. A representative from his department visited Beriah-Lewis Farm on Monday to examine the quarantined cattle and the results of those tests are still pending.
Krivda said Connecticut law states that before you can bring livestock into the state, you need to obtain a permit, which includes veterinarian information about the animal's disposition, regarding tuberculosis and brucelosis.
"And when that doesn't happen and they are brought across state lines, that triggered an automatic quarantine so we can determine the facts," he said.
He said the issue of how many cows were stolen is problematic, since there's reportedly no accurate inventory of the cows on Beriah-Lewis Farm.
It's uncertain at this time when the quarantine will be lifted and whether Smith's cows will be returned to Tiverton. Krivda said that decision would have to be made between the Connecticut state veterinarian and Rhode Island's.
"Since Connecticut and Rhode Island are tuberculosis and brucelosis-free, I believe the tests will be fine, but we've got to make sure the tests are certain," he added.
Police investigation ongoing
Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance confirmed Monday that State Police from Troop D in Danielson aided Tiverton in tracking down the missing cattle. He referred the investigation to Tiverton.
Lt. Patrick Jones confirmed Tuesday morning that there is a six-cow discrepency between Lewis and Smith. He said that Lewis allegedly confessed to doing the whole act on his own, but the case remains ongoing.
"If we can prove someone assisted him, we will charge them in the theft," Jones said.
A request for comment from Smith has not been returned.