Man Arrested After More than 150 Cows Found Starved to Death

A Tennessee man has been accused of being responsible for the deaths of more than 150 cows that died in two locations as a result of starvation.

Ricky Dake, 59, of Monterey, Tennessee, was arrested by members of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office on Thursday. He was then charged by a grand jury with 14 counts of animal cruelty and one count of failure to dispose of dead livestock, according to Fox 17.

"As of to date, we have 155 dead cows to where we've known to be," Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris told local radio station NewsTalk 94.1 on Thursday. The two locations were Lake Hill Road and Calfkiller Highway, both in the Monterey area.

"It wasn't pleasant. It was certainly something that doesn't happen in our community often. Certainly should not be a reflection with how our farmers, agriculture and livestock owners operate here in this county."

Dake was arrested close to four months after an investigation into the dead cows began, when officers found livestock starved to death near to Lake Hill Road on February 27. The authorities initially thought it was an isolated incident, but they soon discovered further deaths at Calfkiller Highway.

"First call that we went to was Lake Hill Road," Farris told NewsTalk. "But we also had another location in Calfkiller outside of Monterey, as well. So, there were actually two locations. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture certainly helped us in that investigation."

The initial discovery of the dead cows was condemned by local groups, as the Farm Bureau and Cattlemen's Association released a joint statement calling the incidents "incredibly troubling for all of us. Our farmers take great pride in providing the best care for their animals and ensuring their wellbeing."

Dake, who is originally from Missouri, is due to appear in court on June 21. He has been set a bond of $10,000.

In Mayes County, Oklahoma, in April and May, there were several reports of cows and goats being found dead after being shot.

After a cow was shot in Mayes County on Tuesday, May 11, Major Rod Howell of the sheriff's office told Newsweek that there had been multiple other reports of farm animals being found dead in the area.

Howell, who suggested that the attacks could have been carried out by a group of juveniles, said that the Mayes County Sheriff's Office would continue its investigation and hopefully "find the perpetrator and bring him to justice with animal cruelty charges."

Newsweek has contacted the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the Farm Bureau and Cattlemen's Association for comment.

Man arrested after 150 cows died
A black and white cow standing in a pasture under a blue sky and a faraway straight horizon. A Tennessee man was arrested on Thursday, June 10, and accused of being responsible for the deaths of around 150 cows, who died as a result of starvation. iStock / Getty Images Plus/Clara Bastian