A Swanville farmer has pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of animal cruelty.

Jerry Ireland was charged by Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Animal Welfare Division after agents inspected his Nickerson Road farm in March, where they exhumed 12 pigs and seized one living pig that showed signs of neglect.

The inspector's report said the animals were shot and buried prior to a planned inspection and showed signs of malnourishment.

Ireland, who is an Army veteran, chief executive officer of United Farmer Veterans of Maine and a candidate for Maine Legislature, submitted the plea on May 25 through his Bangor-based attorney, Hunter Tsovarras. The case is scheduled for a dispositional conference on June 26.