Cattle Owner Suspected of Animal Abuse Speaks
KREX News Room
LOMA, Colo. More than 60 head of cattle in Mesa County have been seized by authorities and the owner may face criminal charges.
The Mesa County Sheriff's Office received a call from a concerned citizen about potential animal neglect at 1320 12 1/4 Road in Loma. When officials visited the property, what they found was graphic.
"There were dead animals on the ground, there were animals in various stages of neglect, some serious enough that they had to be euthanized at the property and some that will probably make a great recovery once they get some veterinary treatment," said Sgt. Matt Lewis of the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.
The police report goes into more detail saying the cows were tied to farm equipment and old cars with no accessible water. Officials found many dead carcasses around the property.
"They called it abuse. I don't consider it abuse," said cattle owner John Lawton. He says he was in the process of making conditions better for his animals.
"I was planning to move them onto a pasture on the neighbors' [property] and I also had someone else ... saying he would work with me on trading a few of the cows for more hay," said Lawton.
However, this wasn't the first time authorities had to check on animals at this property.
"This would be our third response, but the first time we've seen anything that actually required any intervention on our part," said Lewis.
After the state veterinarian inspected the animals on the property, he found 65 percent of the herd was underweight and emaciated.
"This is a case where we found conditions that were so poor that had we not intervened, this livestock most likely would have died," said Lewis.
Sheriff's officials tell NewsChannel 5 that they are continuing to investigate this case and are waiting for lab results to come back to show how undernourished those cows were and for how long. After the results come back they will then decide charges to file against Lawton.