Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

April 18, 2013

Animal care on radar these days

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — It’s been an unusually high number of animal neglect reports flooding into one Garvin County office these days as yet another herd is now on the right path.

For the county sheriff’s department the last week or so has gone from recovering stolen cattle to getting the proper care to a group of malnourished horses to now doing the same for a herd of cows several miles west of Pauls Valley.

“Over the last few days we have been dealing with a lot of animal neglect cases,” Sheriff Larry Rhodes said.

This most recent case started last week when a concerned citizen reported it appeared a mixed herd of between 50 and 60 cows and calves were being neglected. Investigators confirmed that was indeed the case.

“Most were poor to thin,” Rhodes said in a reference to the condition of the cattle.

“They were malnourished and in need of attention,” he said.

“The owners weren’t physically able to care for them, and the person they had to care for them didn’t do what was expected of him.”

It was also last week when the sheriff’s office learned there were 22 horses not being cared for a few miles east of PV.

In these two cases the sheriff and his crew took different approaches to getting the right care to the animals.

“State law allows two things to happen,” Rhodes said. “If it’s bad enough we can take them with a court order.”

That was the case with the group of horses seized last week. The horses did get the proper attention before being given to a non-profit agency that had the task of finding each one new homes.

“We can also come to an agreement with the owner to keep custody of the animals as long as they care for them until some plan of action can bring a resolution,” the sheriff said. “In this case that plan was to sell the cattle,” he said.

“We got good outcomes with both of them. We got proper care for those horses and worked with the owner for a satisfactory agreement with the cattle. Plus we recovered six stolen cows.”

In this most recent case the sale of the cattle has been completed, Rhodes said on Wednesday.

A third case involved the recent theft of six Limousine cows southwest of Maysville, which have all been recovered.

Now facing multiple criminal charges on the theft is Heath McCoy, 32.

McCoy was given five felony counts of fraudulent branding and one formal allegation of knowingly concealing stolen property. The charges were filed this week in Garvin County District Court.

During his initial court appearance on the charges he was handed a $25,000 bond.

An arrest warrant is expected to be issued for a second suspect in the case, whose name hasn’t been released.

The sheriff added he is also encouraging ranchers all over the county to check their fences often to keep their livestock from straying outside, especially during drought conditions.