LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Niagara County Sheriff is warning all famers in the area to be aware and stay alert of “suspicious activity” following a forum that encouraged “animal rescue.”

According to the sheriff, law enforcement was made aware of a recent animal activist meeting held on April 15. The meeting, authorities say, was advertised on social media as a forum to encourage animal rescue and offered instructions on animal rescue, researching facilities and winning at trial.

Authorities say they believe the group is actively recruiting individuals for the said purpose of animal rescue.

According to authorities, two farms in the Newfane area experienced “suspicious activity” and reported it to law enforcement.

Authorities say the individuals typically arrive via vehicle and attempt to conduct surveillance of the farm, with what they believe is the intent to gather information for a potential “rescue of farm animals.”

“Any illegal action taken by these individuals will be treated as criminal activity,” Sheriff Michael Filicetti said in a press release. “The entering of private property, entering of buildings or stealing of livestock is a crime. Law enforcement in Niagara County will be vigilant for any of this activity and take appropriate action if a crime is committed. I stand with our farmers and the protection of their property.”

Any suspicious activity in and/or around local farms is asked to be reported by calling (716) 438-3393 or 911 in an emergency.

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Emily Miller is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2022. See more of her work here.