Farm animals including a cow, a goat and a pig and more than 20 fowl were confiscated by local humane society officers after they were found tethered and boxed in an unlighted basement in Northwest Washington yesterday afternoon.

Officers of the Washington Humane Society were called to 1460 Park Rd. after neighbors complained to police that the animals were being kept in inhumane conditions. The animals were taken to the D.C. Animal Shelter until their owner, who said he was Francisco Rigore of the Park Road address, can provide suitable shelter, said Jean Goldenberg, executive director of the humane society.

"These animals were acquired for some religious ritual and they were to be killed and the community was to be fed with them," Goldenberg said.

Rigore, who says he was a political prisoner for 15 years in Cuba before coming to the United States in 1980, said through an interpreter that he bought the animals so he could "celebrate the day {I} arrived {in the United States}, {my} birthday and {my} religion." He said he will turn 48 today.

The animals and the fowl were purchased Thursday at a Thurmont, Md., farm, Rigore said, and he said he had planned to slaughter them yesterday evening.

A woman who identified herself as Maria Rigore, a friend who sometimes lives at the house, said that after the slaughter, Francisco Rigore was going "to cook {the animals} for the poor people."

Goldenberg said the humane society had no complaint with Rigore's plans to slaughter the animals for food but had to act because "it's the manner in which it's done." She characterized the treatment of the animals as cruel. "These animals had their legs tied, they were on their sides and they couldn't move. The pig was shoved into a crate sideways and was unable to make any movement at all."