A group of teens allegedly broke into a New Jersey petting zoo after-hours, mistreating some animals, letting others loose and even putting lipstick on a miniature pony.
Now, police are trying to track down the trespassers.
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On Saturday at about 10 p.m., Jimmy Abma, one of the owners of Abma’s Farms in Wyckoff, 30 miles east of New York City, raced to the property’s barnyard petting zoo when he and his family heard a commotion outside, the Wyckoff Police Department said in a release.
He began yelling at a group of at least 6 alleged trespassers he saw on the property, CBS New York reports.
While he was trying to find out what was going on, someone sent him a Snapchat picture of a teenage girl with long, platinum blonde hair and wearing a black crop top and ripped jeans riding a miniature donkey in the petting zoo, say police in the release.
Emblazoned on the picture were the words “Abma’s Farm, Wyckoff, N.J.”
The family wrote on Facebook on Sunday that during the alleged barnyard crime spree, the teens “opened gates and rode our miniature donkeys, who should not be supporting that much weight. One person took a Snapchat of another person riding our mini donkey and applied the Abma’s Farm geofilter.
“We caught two other trespassers trying to steal,” the post continues. “When we called the police, the two fled the scene.”
The teens allegedly tried to swipe tables and chairs from the property, Jimmy Abma told the Fair Lawn-Glen Rock Daily Voice.
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According to Abma, the animals were shaken up.
“Couple of the animals you couldn’t even get close to,” he told CBS New York. “They were all skittish. They were all jumping around. We did a full count on the animals and we’re still trying to account for all of them so it’s just a frustrating thing.
“A couple of our animals got loose from gates left open but after thoroughly searching this morning, all animals are accounted for.”
This was no ordinary break-in, the family noted in the post.
“First and foremost, we are a working farm, and four families (and four generations) live here,” the family wrote. “This is our home.
“Second, from a human safety standpoint, breaking into animal pens with no animal training is dangerous. Animals can kick, rear up, and trample you. In the dark, anything can happen.
“Third, the safety of OUR animals has been compromised and that IS. NOT. OKAY. Our animals are now shaken and skiddish (sic) compared to their normal relaxed nature. This is very troubling to us.”
The barnyard was closed on Monday so a vet could examine the petting zoo’s 60 animals, which include rabbits, sheep, pigs, goats, and at least one miniature pony.
The Wyckoff Police Department’s Detective/Juvenile Bureau is working with Tyco Animal Control “to identify all the parties responsible,” according to a release from the department.
As of yet, no arrests have been made.
Authorities are zeroing in on the alleged suspects based on the Snapchat photo Jimmy Abma received, which showed “a female party who had been riding a donkey in the petting zoo” and “other persons who were involved,” police say in the release.
The family is still seething.
“The sheer disrespect that some people have is truly infuriating,” Jimmy Abma told the Daily Voice. “There are teenage pranks, and then there’s something like this.
“Unfortunately for them, we have pictures and names and we will follow through to make sure everyone is held accountable,” he said. “These kids have to deal with what they did.”