PASCO, Wash. – An Idaho sheep rancher is under investigation for animal cruelty after 29 dead cows were seen off U.S. 395 near Pasco, Washington.
The Tri-City Herald reports a person in the area called the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office after spotting the dead cattle on U.S. Bureau of Land Management property north of Pasco.
Franklin County Capt. Monty Huber said deputies flew over the property and saw the animals.
Deputies didn’t see any sign of cattle food or tire tracks in the snow and that investigators believe the owner, James Marek, let them starve, Huber said.
Marek’s attorney, Scott Johnson, argued in court that sheriff’s deputies have no proof the animals starved. The cattle died in February winter storms and Marek filed a claim with the U.S. Department of Agriculture saying he lost livestock due to weather, he said.
An investigation is ongoing.
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