RARITAN TOWNSHIP — The owner and operator of an animal rescue in Raritan Township has been arrested and slapped with a laundry list of charges including animal cruelty and weapons possession.

Michael Featherston, 52, of Flemington, and owner of Rooster’s Rescue Foundation, Inc., was arrested after detectives from the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, Raritan Township police and the Department of Agriculture searched a home and other structures on the property on County Road 579.

They uncovered 71 animals, including equine, cows, goats, pigs, roosters, and sheep, believed to be neglected and in poor living conditions.

Cow rescued from Rooster's Rescue in Flemington (Photo Credit: Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office)
Cow rescued from Rooster's Rescue in Flemington (Photo Credit: Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office)
loading...

All the animals were seized, given proper medical attention, and placed with various rescue groups.

Additionally, several deceased animals were also found on the property.

Authorities also discovered an assault rifle, large-capacity magazines, and marijuana. The rifle is considered a “ghost gun” because it has no serial number.

Featherston has been charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon (assault rifle), third-degree purchasing firearm parts to manufacture a firearm without a serial number, third-degree cruelty to animals (bodily injury and failure to provide necessary care), fourth-degree prohibited weapons (large-capacity magazines), and fourth-degree possession of marijuana.

Pony rescued from Rooster's Rescue in Flemington (Photo Credit: Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office)
Pony rescued from Rooster's Rescue in Flemington (Photo Credit: Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office)
loading...

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office at 908-788-1129.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

NJ Diners that are open 24/7