Day of remembrance to mark Westport animal suffering


To help make sure that Westport never forgets the animal abuse that was revealed off American Legion Highway, the town has set July 24 as an official day of reflection and remembrance for the suffering that happened there.

That is the date that authorities last year uncovered horrific conditions at Richard Medeiros’ property where tenants rented so-called farm lots. Similar discoveries six years earlier at the same location also caused a stir but did little to prevent animal activity there from resuming.

Kathy Feininger, a leader of the group Stop the Insanity Westport! urged the Board of Selectmen last week to set the day of remembrance and selectmen agreed to do so.

The first such event will be a ceremony held on Monday, July 24, from 5 to 5:45 p.m. outside Town Hall, right before meetings of the Board of Selectmen and Board of Health.

“Our intent is to send a clear message to both boards that Westporters have not forgotten the suffering of these animals and remain concerned about animal welfare in our town. The Remembrance Ceremony will feature remarks from workers who rescued the animals from the Medeiros property and cared for them at the rehabilitation facility, a Select Board representative, and a representative for Stop the Insanity Westport!,” the group announced. “Please join us to show our elected officials that our community will not tolerate animal abuse.

Ms. Feininger said there are also plans to hang 140 “flashies,” from trees outside town hall starting July 17. Each of the flashies will have ten mirrors to reflect light as the turn in the breeze — one mirror for the 1,400 animals rescued from the 71-acre property.

The ceremony happens as the state prepares to prosecute 27 people indicted recently in Fall River Superior Court on a total of 15a counts of animal cruelty. Pre-trials in those cases are set for later summer.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.