Cow owner could face criminal charges

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 11, 2004

The owner of 10 dead cows found dumped off a Dallas County bridge could be facing criminal charges.

According to Fourth Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ed Greene, the owner of 10 dead cows found near Six Mile Creek Park is expected to face charges of criminal littering and animal neglect. Both are misdemeanors and could carry a sentence in the Dallas County Jail.

The number of dead cows was raised from nine to 10 after examining the site on Friday.

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“The owner of the animals has told the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department that he dumped the cows in the creek, that they died from malnutrition,” Greene said. “He had apparently done this before.”

Randy Pugh, chief deputy with the Sheriff’s department, said arrest warrants would most likely be issued this week.

The 10 cows were removed from a creek running under Kings Bend Road Friday morning. Officials from the sheriff’s department, Alabama Veterinarian’s Office and U.S. Department of Agriculture were present as the cows were taken to a landfill to be buried.

“They were dead before they were tossed in the creek,” Pugh said. “They died of worms, starvation. Some may have been shot by the owner.”

Heavy machinery lifted the cows from the creek. Workers dropped cables, which were attached to the cows’ feet before they were brought to the roadside.

Pugh noted that a representative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture took the head of one cow and sent it to Auburn University. It’s expected to eventually reach a governmental testing facility in the Midwest. “It’s just a precaution,” Pugh said.

Sgt. David Odom found the cows Wednesday night after receiving a call from dispatch. Upon reaching the bridge, Odom saw marks on the bridge and the cows in the creek below.

Pugh’s department closed portions of Kings Bend Road on Thursday, but reopened them after speaking with the cows’ owner. He reiterated on Friday that the community had no cause for concern.

“The owner could have just buried the cows on his own land,” Pugh said. “It would have been the easiest, cheapest and right thing to do.”