AUTUMN FARM SANCTUARY2.TIFF

Animals that lived at The Autumn Farm Sanctuary were placed at other farms.

TOWN OF CEDARBURG 鈥 A group of former volunteers rallied together to be the voice of animals that they say were being neglected at a sanctuary in the town of Cedarburg.

Little to no food or water, filthy living conditions, injuries, sickness and overgrown hooves, were the reports made to law enforcement officials about the Autumn Farm Sanctuary, 4433 Lakefield Road, which was run by Holly Rose Herbst and Alyssa Herbst.

The former volunteers spoke about their experience, some even providing photos and videos, on the Facebook page, "Neglect at Autumn Farm Sanctuary," which was created in late March by Erin Hammock, a volunteer at the farm from 2015 to 2022.

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Soon their voices were heard, and on April 20, the Ozaukee County Sheriff鈥檚 Office seized two turkeys, 34 chickens, three goats, three ducks, and two pot-belly pigs and a yorkshire pig.

Holly Rose Herbst was charged last week with intentional mistreatment of animals and intentional fail/provide water for animals, both misdemeanors. She is set to appear in court on May 13.

The SM天地论坛 Graphic reached out to the owners multiple times for comment, but received no response.

鈥淪o many volunteers have worked with them to try to make positive changes for the animals and to do something and it didn鈥檛 get better, it got worse and animals have died, animals have been sick and injured that weren鈥檛 cared for,鈥 said Julie Gilmore, who had been a volunteer at the sanctuary since 2016. 鈥... This was our last resort and we had to come forward because these animals don鈥檛 have a voice.

鈥淲e鈥檙e grateful they鈥檙e finally removed off the property,鈥 she added. 鈥淚t鈥檚 a long time coming and I wish more animals could鈥檝e made it off.鈥

When asked why Alyssa Herbst wasn鈥檛 charged, Undersheriff Marshall Hermann stated that charges were forwarded for Holly Herbst as she was the current occupant of the residence and the primary caretaker of the animals at the sanctuary during the time of the investigation.

According to the criminal complaint against Holly Herbst, by January 2024, Holly Herbst and Alyssa Herbst were separated and in the process of divorcing.

Hammock said she and other former volunteers feel that both owners need to be held accountable 鈥渁s they both played a part in this.鈥

Sanctuary did some good at one time Hammock and Gilmore stated the conditions of Autumn Farm Sanctuary weren鈥檛 always bad.

The farm made news back in 2016 when it took in a duck named Phillip who was given prosthetic feet after losing his own from frostbite.

But now Hammock and Gilmore say Alyssa Herbst no longer lives on the farm; she would come during the day to let the animals out and bring them back inside in the evening. As for Holly Herbst, the two claimed that during the summer she would be gone for one to two weeks every month for her job.

Hammock developed a friendship with the Herbsts when she began volunteering. She said they didn鈥檛 train volunteers, so she began training them and she became the volunteer coordinator.

Volunteers noticed changes Hammock stated that she started noticing things on the farm taking a turn as early as 2020.

Hammock primarily spoke to Alyssa Herbst, who she said was the primary caretaker of the farm. If she tried to reach out to Holly Herbst, she either didn鈥檛 respond or told her to speak to Alyssa Herbst.

At one time Hammock had volunteers at the farm every day, but said people started to leave due to conditions deteriorating, some even expressing their concerns to the owners who allegedly showed resistance or attitude.

Hammock was also a member of the Autumn Farm Sanctuary鈥檚 board from 2017 to 2021, which she described as not a properly functioning one.

鈥淚t was always just them talking, but they never wanted to be the ones to actually do the work,鈥 Hammock said. 鈥淭hey wanted us to find donors, they wanted us to do fundraising things, they wanted us to get more volunteers and do all of the training but they never put forth anything themselves.鈥

Gilmore, who also worked as a vet technician for 18 years, said it started out nice and looked like the owners were putting in effort into the farm.

But around 2018, Gilmore started to notice things weren鈥檛 getting done if volunteers weren鈥檛 there.

鈥淚 didn鈥檛 mention anything because it wasn鈥檛 as concerning as it has gotten in the last few years,鈥 she said.

Conditions seemed to worsen Gilmore took some time off from volunteering between July and November, and when she returned, she said the conditions were 鈥渉orrid.鈥 While she was gone, Gilmore was told other volunteers left due to the conditions and reported to the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.

Gilmore said animals had no food or water. If they did have water, it was filthy. Some animals鈥 weight also had dropped.

鈥淚 left that day in tears,鈥 she said.

Gilmore still worked on the farm while in contact with Hammock and other former volunteers as they began speaking up about the neglect.

Hammock and Gilmore stated that the Herbsts always seemed unaware of any injuries or sickness with the animals until they were told by volunteers.

Gilmore said the owners didn鈥檛 treat a mini horse named Scooter, who constantly had Thrush, a bacterial and fungal infection that destroys the frog, a part of a horse鈥檚 hoof.

鈥淲e the volunteers bought the medication,鈥 she added. 鈥淚 had trained volunteers how to clean hooves just so that would get done.鈥

Scooter also had Cushing鈥檚 disease, which Gilmore stated that he was receiving medication for when she started working at the farm, but eventually that allegedly stopped.

Nermal, a 1-year-old goat, was found dead one late January evening by Alyssa Herbst, who by this time was no longer living on the property, said Gilmore, which was also reported on the Facebook page. Gilmore stated that a volunteer who was still at the farm found Nermal鈥檚 body wrapped in a tarp outside of the pasture.

鈥淲e still don鈥檛 know how she died and they (the Herbsts) probably don鈥檛 either but she was a healthy goat,鈥 Gilmore said.

Gilmore told the owners that an older goat, Annabelle, was having issues and straining to pee. Gilmore said the owners weren鈥檛 aware of this and then was told by them that they called the vet and started Annabelle on antibiotics and gabapentin.

Gilmore stated that no antibiotics were ever found and the gabapentin that was found in the feed room was prescribed to one of the owners. Annabelle was euthanized shortly after.

鈥淚鈥檓 glad she was put down, she was old and she was suffering,鈥 Gilmore said. 鈥淲hat I鈥檓 really upset about, as is everyone else, is that they just didn鈥檛 know she was sick.鈥

Hammock and Gilmore also spoke of instances where volunteers couldn鈥檛 get a hold of the Herbsts in an emergency.

In January, Gilmore noticed Bluey the yorkshire pig had frostbite behind her ears and on her legs after being left outside in the pasture. Bluey was reportedly bullying other animals and she was put away separately from the animals in the barn.

Hammock said volunteers reached out to her when one horse was lying on the ground and they couldn鈥檛 get in contact with either Alyssa Herbst or Holly Herbst. Hammock called a vet to come help, but the horse died. Hammock said the vet told her the horse had colic.

鈥淚 used to love coming out there 鈥 In the last few years, it鈥檚 not that I dreaded it, but I dreaded seeing what I was going to see when I got there,鈥 Gilmore said. 鈥淲hich turkey is going to be bloodied? Am I going to find a dead chicken? Am I going to find an animal that鈥檚 sickly or injured? Am I going to find enough food?鈥

Gilmore said she stayed to help out at the farm because she knew that when she was there that at least the animals were being cared for.

When she had concerns Gilmore said she would reach out to Alyssa, but she wouldn鈥檛 see any changes.

Hammock said a lot of the animals came from very bad situations prior to coming to Autumn Farm Sanctuary.

鈥淪o for them to have to go through a trauma a second time is unbelievable. It just breaks my heart,鈥 she said.

Gilmore was there when a few of the animals were taken in February. The last straw for both her and Hammock was when nothing seemed to change after that. This motivated Hammock to create the 鈥淣eglect at Autumn Farm Sanctuary鈥 Facebook page.

Sheriff鈥檚 Office and MADACC get involved According to the criminal complaint, when the Sheriff鈥檚 Office and a veterinarian from MADACC returned to the farm on April 20, they noticed empty or nearly empty food bowls, empty water bowls or water bowls that were filthy with mud and feces and not enough hay spread in the barn to be sufficient for animal bedding. A detective observed that one of the pigs had more pronounced ribs than the last time they were out there, the complaint states. That pig鈥檚 hooves were also severely overgrown, and it was affecting the pig鈥檚 ability to walk around.

The MADACC veterinarian was the one that recommended that the animals be seized for their own welfare, according to the criminal complaint.

The 鈥淣eglect at Autumn Farm Sanctuary鈥 has been sharing positive updates on some of the animals that have been taken to other sanctuaries.

Bluey and some other animals were sent to Heartland Farm Sanctuary. Cows Bo and Ruth were taken to Bucky鈥檚 Bull Rescue. Off The Table Farm Sanctuary took in two pot-belly pigs now named Harlow and Lewis.

鈥淭wo potbelly pigs that we know were once loved and seen as someone. Now who we see are two pigs that sadly look like they were forgotten about for far too long 鈥 As for you Harlow and Lewis, we owe you the best we can give and we will give you our all,鈥 according to a Facebook post from Off The Table Farm Sanctuary.

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