Northborough Man Arraigned for Animal Cruelty, Multiple Environmental Violations in Connection with Operating Illegal Dump
WORCESTER — A Northborough man has been arraigned in connection with multiple environmental violations and animal cruelty for the alleged operation of an illegal dumping site, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
Santo Anza, Jr., age 51, of Northborough, has been arraigned on the charges of violating the Massachusetts Clean Air Act (3 counts), violating the Massachusetts Solid Waste Act (10 counts), and Animal Cruelty (3 counts). Santo Anza was arraigned today in Worcester Superior Court where he pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance, with the condition that he not contact citizen witnesses who testified against him.
According to authorities, Anza operated an illegal dump for solid waste on his Whitney Street property in Northborough. Authorities allege that the dump site polluted the air and created a public nuisance by emitting rotten odors that annoyed and sickened neighbors.
In October 2010, Anza applied for and was granted a composting registration from the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR). In March 2011, Anza applied for a renewal of the composting registration from DAR. A site visit in connection with the application for renewal showed little agricultural activity. Authorities allege that Anza used the site not as a farm, but instead as a dump for spoiled food, non-food waste, manure, yard waste, cardboard, and other materials. The materials were allegedly dumped in close proximity to animals and livestock that roamed freely on the property. Anza was granted temporary registration provided that he brought the site into compliance.
Authorities allege that after his temporary certificate expired in April 2011, Anza continued to accept tons of solid waste without a valid site assignment. According to authorities, during the summer months of June, July, and August 2011, the farm emitted strong and repulsive odors into a nearby residential neighborhood on repeated occasions, causing some neighbors to become physically ill.
Authorities also allege that Anza kept various animals on the Northborough property, including cows, pigs, and poultry, that comingled and foraged for food in a pit of garbage that included non-food items, including severed animal heads, manure, cardboard and tires. Authorities allege that Anza failed to provide proper food to the animals, failed to maintain a sanitary environment for them, and instead subjected them to unnecessary suffering.
After an extensive investigation, MassDEP referred this matter to the Attorney General’s Office in September 2011. On October 14, the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Division obtained a preliminary injunction against Anza prohibiting him from accepting solid waste and compostable material on his property and providing relief to neighbors who have had to live with the odors and noise emanating from the property.
These criminal charges are the result of an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, an interagency unit which is overseen by AG Coakley, MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell, and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan, Jr. The Strike Force comprises prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP who investigate and prosecute crimes that harm or threaten the state’s water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.
A Worcester County Grand Jury returned indictments against Anza on December 14, 2011. Anza was arraigned in Worcester Superior Court today at which time he entered into a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance, with the condition that he not contact citizen witnesses who testified against him. Anza is due back in court on March 5, 2012 for a pre-trial conference. Judge Janet Kenton-Walker presided over today's arraignment.
Members of the public who have information regarding a potential environmental crime are encouraged to contact the MassDEP Environmental Strike Force Hotline at 1-888-VIOLATE (846-5283) or the Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-2200.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer of AG Coakley’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force is prosecuting this case with assistance from Lynne Welsh and Michael Penny from MassDEP. Greg Root and Paul Dwiggins of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office also assisted in this case.