MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Mower County Sheriff’s Office has a gruesome case on its hands after 22 dairy cows were found dead in a barn.
The grisly discovery was made a couple of weeks ago in Racine Township, which is just east of Austin, Minn.
During a blizzard in late February, deputies got a tip that the cows were not being fed or cared for. However, because of the road conditions deputies couldn’t immediately get there to check it out.
When they did days later, they found the cattle dead and a 75-year-old man and his son in need of help.
“It is a dire situation for these two men,” Mower County Sheriff Therese Amazi said.
There, authorities found a farm house surrounded by trees that has fallen into disrepair. The barn has nearly collapsed.
“These individuals were involved in a very serious accident car accident. The elderly gentlemen whose cattle they were actually suffered a very severe brain injury and really hasn’t recovered fully from that,” she said.
Amazi says the harsh winter weather made it difficult for the men to take care of their cattle, but also themselves.
Deputies discovered they had no groceries.
“They were in dire straits. Both said they hadn’t eaten. We said we’d get them help or drive them some place. Apparently they had help coming, so they denied all efforts,” she said.
But they did let deputies know about a problem in the barn.
“The younger man said there are cattle in there and they’re his and he didn’t believe they were being taken care of. He believed several were dead — no idea 22 of them had died. There were only two survivors,” she said.
The sheriff says she knows taking care of cattle is hard work. But failing to ask for help cannot be condoned.
“The 52-year-old, because he’s still got his capacities, should have contacted somebody to take care of the cattle knowing he couldn’t or arranged to have them transported elsewhere,” Amazi said.
The two cows that were found alive are both calves. They were taken away on a trailer and are now being cared for at a nearby farm. The sheriff says they will likely not be returned to the owners.
As for the charges that are pending, they are misdemeanor animal cruelty charges punishable by a fine. It’s likely that only the younger of the two men will be cited since his father has a brain injury.