State animal welfare investigators removed 44 animals from a Sorrento farmer’s home this week after finding them in allegedly inhumane living conditions, a spokesman said Thursday.

Veterinarians are evaluating the 14 sheep, 22 pigs and eight rats for malnutrition and other health problems. The animals were removed Tuesday, said Liam Hughes, director of the state’s animal welfare program.

The animals “had inhumane, unclean living conditions. They were not given proper opportunity to remove themselves from their own filth,” Hughes said Thursday. “They had no clean, dry places to lie down in.”

[NH woman whose 84 Great Danes were seized can’t have the dogs back]

The owner of the farm, 51-year-old Marc Calcia, said Friday that he does not believe that he has violated the law.

“We are talking about pigs living in a pigpen,” Calcia said.

His farm is licensed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a piggery and is inspected a half dozen times a year. Calcia has received conflicting advice from state officials regarding his animals and is doing his best to resolve the situation, said Calcia, who also delivers papers for the Bangor Daily News.

Animal welfare investigators issued a summons to Calcia for cruelty to animals. Hughes said the agency had been working with Calcia “for the majority of this year” to resolve the problems on his property before issuing the summons.

“We normally don’t take actions like this unless we feel that all other actions have been expended and we feel that the animals are at risk,” Hughes said.

Calcia previously has been cited for animal cruelty and other charges, Hughes said. He was acquitted of charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and violating conditions of release after a trial in 2012.

[64 sick animals seized from Lewiston apartment]

Sorrento town officials took the Calcia family to court in 2011 to get them to clean up their Fuller Road property, which the town said violated state junkyard and automobile graveyard restrictions. Calcia’s wife, who owns the property with her mother, was ordered in Ellsworth District Court to pay a $600 fine.

In his decision, Judge Bruce Mallonee wrote “the property was cleaned up substantially” but not all “junk” had been removed. The unpermitted structures cited by the judge included an old truck used for storage and a “blue tarp structure” used to shelter pigs.

Animal welfare investigators are working with the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office on the case, Hughes said.

Hancock County District Attorney Matt Foster did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.