Huffman: No apology

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 2, 2004

An apology from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department will not be given to a man charged with dumping 13 cows off a Dallas County bridge.

Julian McPhillips, Montgomery-based attorney for “Lad” Brown, requested the apology from Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr. in a Feb. 16 letter.

“I have heard your words attributing animal cruelty to Mr. Brown when you publicly stated Mr. Brown had ‘starved his cattle to death,'” McPhillips’ letter reads. “The truth is that Mr. Brown has kept his cattle with free choice hay and feed since the fall of 2003.”

McPhillips added that if Brown didn’t receive an apology from Huffman within 10 days, he would have no alternative but to file suit. As of Monday, no suit had yet been filed.

Deputies brought Brown, 53, into custody Jan. 9 for allegedly dumping 13 dead cows off a bridge on Kings Bend Road. Brown was charged with one count of criminal littering and 13 counts of cruelty to animals. His trial is scheduled for March 10.

Cartledge Blackwell, Huffman’s lawyer, and Dallas County Commission attorney John Kelly replied to McPhillips’ request in a Feb. 27 letter. “Sheriff Huffman will neither retract his statements nor apologize to Mr. Brown because neither a retraction nor an apology is required or appropriate,” the letter states.

Huffman concurred. “I have no intentions of making an apology or a retraction,” he said.

Blackwell and Kelly add that a report from veterinary pathologist Leland P. Nuehring suggests Brown’s cows suffered from emaciation due to insufficient caloric intake. “He found that the cows were very thin and that there was very little internal body fat,” the letter states.

According to McPhillips, though, the report didn’t conclude that Brown’s cows died due to starvation. “Mr. Brown was feeding them well enough,” McPhillips said. “It was in his best financial interest to do so. The cows certainly were not starved.”

McPhillips dismissed Blackwell and Kelly’s intention to file suit if he followed through on his lawsuit. “I’m not worried,” McPhillips said. “It’s a standard defense. Really, what his whole letter is doing is posturing. The Sheriff should just apologize. There’s no evidence that Mr. Brown starved his cows.”