HERMISTON, Ore. – An eastern Oregon rancher has been indicted by a grand jury after authorities say they discovered dead and starving cattle.
The East Oregonian reported Saturday that the indictment against 55-year-old Michael Hockensmith of Hermiston includes 14 counts of first-degree animal neglect and 186 counts of second-degree animal neglect.
Each count in the indictment represents one animal in the herd.
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office said that on Jan. 7 deputies went to Hockensmith’s Cedar Creek Cattle Co. and found 14 dead cattle and 15 others too malnourished to be safely moved from the pasture.
Sheriff Terry Rowan said $30,000 has been spent on feed and vaccinations, but three more animals have died.
Hockensmith is scheduled to appear in court in early April.
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