Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Charges possible after 100 cattle found dead in McIntosh County

BISMARCK - Prosecutors are considering criminal charges against the owner of 100 cattle found dead last week in McIntosh County, at least some of which starved to death.

McIntosh County

BISMARCK - Prosecutors are considering criminal charges against the owner of 100 cattle found dead last week in McIntosh County, at least some of which starved to death.

Logan County State's Attorney Gerald Kuhn said Tuesday it is too early in the investigation to say if criminal charges will be filed, but autopsies on three of the animals showed they died from starvation.

Kuhn said there are more cattle in the owner's possession, many in poor shape and others in good condition.

"We're concerned with the cattle right now - making sure they're getting what they need" in terms of appropriate nutrition, said Kuhn. "We're not so concerned with whether we're going to prosecute."

He said a check by the McIntosh County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday showed there were bales of hay and water available to the cattle, but it appeared the hay didn't support the animals' nutritional needs.

ADVERTISEMENT

Susan Keller, the state veterinarian, said Tuesday that her office began working with the county's sheriff's department March 11 on an investigation prompted by an anonymous tipster. She said multiple species were involved.

The investigation comes in the wake of the pending case against Bill Kiefer, a Fargo investment executive and financial adviser who faces charges in Morton County District Court that are connected to the death of 96 horses, donkeys and mules found on his land, along with the seizure of another 119 malnourished animals. He faces similar misdemeanor charges in Burleigh County, where 38 of Kiefer's horses were also seized and three discovered dead.

"For us to be dealing with two back-to-back cases, it's ironic, especially given that it's in this legislative session, with the bill" prohibiting animal cruelty now under consideration by the Legislature, said Keller.

The pending bill would make animal cruelty a felony in the state. In the case in McIntosh County - a sparsely populated county southwest of Jamestown on the South Dakota border - Kuhn said an insurance claim was filed by the owner and the insurance company investigated the claim.

"In my opinion, if the owner had starved them to death, the insurance company would have said something," he said.

Kuhn said that initial reports indicated that dogs had chased the cows into a barn on the property, where they suffocated and died.

"I need more than what I've got," said Kuhn, in order to make a decision about prosecuting.

The state's attorney for McIntosh County, Terry Elhard, said he passed on the case to Logan County prosecutors because he has a conflict of interest in the case. Elhard would not elaborate on his conflict, other than to say he had some relationship with the owner of the animals.

ADVERTISEMENT

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541

Related Topics: AGRICULTURECRIME
What To Read Next
Columnist Carol Bradley Bursack lists the various reason why some older adults may begin to shuffle as they age.
The Buffalo Bills safety who suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football in January is urging people to learn how to save lives the way his was saved.
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
A Sanford doctor says moderate cold exposure could be the boost people need for their day.