A New Jersey farmer says some of the animals in his petting zoo were terrorized by a group of teens he says allegedly broke onto his property and abused them, including by putting lipstick on a miniature pony.
Abma's Farm in Wyckoff is a beloved Bergen County mainstay. Four generations live on the property and the farm's market and petting zoo are a big draw. But Jimmy Abma says he'll have to keep the zoo closed on Monday as police investigate the trespassing and a veterinarian examines the animals.
"All the gate were opened and the pens. A couple of the animals we couldn't even get close to, they were all skittish," Abma said.
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He was tipped off to the disturbance after receiving a Snapchat photo of what appears to be a teenage girl riding one of his miniature donkeys. The photo was geotagged with the location of the farm.
"They're not ridden, and the fact that they were riding them last night is a health issue. It's a structural issue," Abma said. The farmer whose family has owned the farm for nine decades says he went outside on Saturday night and found six to eight teenagers running off, but the damage had been done.
Abma said one of his miniature ponies had some sort of lipgloss or lipstick across its face, and it was one of the most spooked out of all the animals. Some of the animals were missing because the pens were left open but they were all accounted for as of Sunday. Abma also says two of the trespassers were also trying to steal something from the property.
Abma says he turned in surveillance video and all the information he knows to police. The Wyckoff Police Department says it has opened an investigation in conjunction with Tyco Animal Control. Abma's animals will be checked out by a veterinarian for possible injuries, police said.
It's not the first time people have trespassed on the county's farmlands, according to Abma. He says he gets trespassers nearly on a daily basis, and that's why he's taking his latest incident even more seriously.
"It's not just here. It's not just us here in our petting zoo. This goes on throughout the country. People trample all over farmland and don't care," the farmer said.