By Eric Francis
WEST WINDSOR – Two local suspects have been charged with two counts each of cruelty to animals and burglary in connection with the Halloween-time knifing of a pair of pet goats belonging to a state game warden.Vermont State Police allege that Nick Ashline, 33, of Hartland and Daniel Parry, 20, of West Windsor worked together to break through a fence on Warden Stephen Majeski’s property, which sits at the end of a remote dirt road, and entered his barn on the evening of Saturday, October 29 where police say the men slit the throats of two dairy goats that were inside.
Majeski returned home that evening to find footprints near his barn in the early season snowfall and immediately sensed something was wrong, calling for state police backup before entering and finding a small goat named “Moose” dead and another, “Milkshake,” clinging to life nearby despite a severe wound to her throat.
“That evening I was home, and the kids actually had some of their friends over for a little Halloween sleepover, so these people did this while me and the kids were here,” Carolanne Majeski recalled this week after receiving a phone message from state police that arrests had been made in connection with the case.
“The goat that they killed was our youngest one,” Majeski explained. “She was two and she was my children’s goat. My daughter had actually bottle fed her. It was awful. That very day that this happened the little one was outside playing on a stump and my daughter was calling me down there to see how cute it was.”
Ashline and Parry are not due in court to answer the felony charges until December 20th and state police have not said what they think prompted the attack but the Majeskis are convinced it has to do with Stephen’s job as a game warden.
“I really think these guys meant to intimidate my husband and our family so they went about stabbing my kid’s goat to death and mutilating the other one,” Carolanne Majeski said, adding that when it came to “Milkshake,” the older goat, “We didn’t think she was going to survive at first.
Her voice is weak. When she tries to “Baa” it’s really, really soft, so that’s kind of sad but she has actually healed up remarkably well. We had some great veterinarians working with us.”
Majeski said she was aware that Ashline had been investigated by her husband in the past, and records show that Ashline was charged eight years ago with a misdemeanor count of illegally taking big game with the aid of a salt lick; however that charge was dismissed by the court in 2004.
Whether police believe a grudge was carried along for the better part of a decade or whether something more recent was behind the men’s alleged actions has yet to be revealed.
“The whole motive behind it is still sort of up in the air, the only thing we know for sure is that it was meant to intimidate,” Carolanne Majeski said, adding, “As to what their whole logic was behind this, that is still kind of out there for the investigation to sort out. We haven’t really been given any details as to what happened surrounding the arrests.”
Suspect Daniel Parry was in court late last week on an unrelated matter where he pleaded innocent to a single count of petty larceny in connection with an incident that occurred at the Green Mountain Horse Association on the afternoon of October 15 in South Woodstock.
Majeski said she was aware of this other, unrelated charge against Parry, which is alleged to have occurred just days before Parry and Ashline allegedly attacked her goats.
“I think the most important thing is that a very clear message gets sent that intimidation is not going to be tolerated,” Majeski said. “We really hope that these guys are prosecuted to the fullest extent because anyone who would do this is just not a safe person to have walking around in society.”
This article first appeared in the December 8th edition of the Vermont Standard.