Connecticut Goat Lady's House of Horrors Is On the Market as She Faces Animal Cruelty Charges: Report

A herd of goats on neighbors property/DOGA agents seizing 65 goats on Burton's property.
S. Winters/Hello Redding!

Nancy Burton, 72, widow of revered journalist William Honan, a top New York Times editor, is now facing 65 charges of animal cruelty. Burton plans on representing herself in court. Her upcoming court date is May 26.

A million-dollar estate in Connecticut tucked away in the exclusive town of Redding was transformed into a house of horrors filled with decomposing corpses of goats, according to authorities. 

Last month, 65 live goats and one dead goat were seized during a search and seizure warrant by the state at the home of  Nancy Burton, 72, widow of the late William Honan, a revered journalist who was a longtime culture and arts editor at The New York Times. 

Burton, is now facing 65 charges of animal cruelty, the Department of Agriculture (DoAG), said in a release. And, now the once stately home that is located at 147 Cross Highway Connecticut is “For Sale By Owner,” according to the local publication, “Hello Redding.”

During the execution of the warrant, DOAG agents say they discovered between forty and fifty dead goats in multiple locations on the property in various stages of decomposition. Some were found in plastic bags, inside trash containers, tote bags. While others were located in a shallow pit covered by plywood or in padlock shelters on the property, according to the petition obtained by Inside Edition Digital.

This was not her first offense. 

One year ago, Burton was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after one of her goats that were on the road was struck by a car, the document alleged.  The case is still pending. Burton’s next court date in Danbury Superior Court is on May 26, according to the online Judicial Branch website.

On April 16, Burton surrendered to state police after learning that she had an active arrest warrant charging her with 65 counts of animal cruelty. She was released on a $50,000 bond during her arraignment in Superior Court in Danbury on Thursday. She was representing herself and declined to plead until she could review the relevant documents, The New York Post reported. 

Pending the outcome of the case, the judge granted her request to have the documents she needed and order a continuance to May 26 on the condition that she not possess any animals until the case is resolved, the newspaper reported.

Burton called last month’s confiscation by the state an “illegal search and seizure” that she said she plans on fighting. She recently filed a 16-page lawsuit against the town of Redding— along with the first selectwoman, the chief of police and his department, the state Department of Agriculture, the department’s commissioner and animal control officer, the town’s building and health department, and four neighbors — claiming harassment, the newspaper reported.

Since 2007, the Redding police department has received at least 120 complaints, according to the petition. An October 2020 complaint prompted the department to investigate. According to the DOAG, some of the animal welfare concerns caught on surveillance were mobility issues due to untrimmed hooves, excessive manure on the property, a lack of sufficient water, and an inadequate shelter, the DOAG said.

The DOAGS said they made many attempts to resolve the issue adding that the “removal of the animals is the last resort after attempting to work with the owner to voluntarily improve the standard of care.”

Currently, the goats are in the care and custody of the Department of Agriculture’s rescue and rehabilitation facility, officials said. 

Susan Winters, publisher and founder of local publication, “Hello Redding,” who has been one of the people named in Burton's lawsuit, told Inside Edition Digital that a number of the neighbors approached her to find out what they can do about Burton, aka the “Redding Goat Lady,” since, they said, it was getting out of hand.

She said that many complained that the goats roamed freely all over Burton’s property and on the roofs of her vehicles. Many roamed the streets and would go onto the neighbors' property where they would eat their shrubs and defecate. Winter said one of the neighbors kept an air horn on her desk to fend off the gang of breeding goats who she said frequently invaded her property.

Inside Edition Digital attempted to reach out to Nancy Burton but was unsuccessful.

Redding Burton’s property is estimated at $1,268,600, according to The single-family home built in 1850 is approximately 3,236 square feet and features five beds and four baths with a lot size of 3.61 acres.

Related Stories