Anderson County authorities seized a total of more than 40 cows and horses Monday from property northeast of Palestine.

Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor said his agency received an anonymous complaint late last month concerning the care of “some malnourished cows and horses” being maintained on 135 acres of property in the 2000 block of CR 349, northeast of Palestine.

After obtaining a seizure warrant Friday, Michelle Defore, Anderson County sheriff’s animal control officer, and other individuals began removing the animals from the property around 9 a.m. Monday.

“There were also carcasses of cattle (approximately five according to the sheriff) in various stages of decomposition...and one horse deceased on the property,” Taylor said.

At least one of the cows appeared to have died possibly in the last week or so, according to the sheriff.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, Taylor said his agency had removed 30 cows and 12 horses from the property.

The sheriff said some of the seized animals were in decent shape, but added, “Most of them are malnourished.

“There’s no hay on the property and very low grass,” Taylor said. “...Some of the ones they’ve hauled were too weak to stand in a trailer.”

Authorities are attempting to identify who was responsible for caring for the animals and say criminal charges ultimately could be filed in the case.

“We think it’s going to be a case of someone up in age depending on someone to feed their animals and it wasn’t getting done,” the sheriff stated. “We’re still investigating who was responsible.”

Taylor reminded citizens who are having difficulty caring for their animals to contact his agency at (903) 729-6068.

“Before it turns into a seizure,” the sheriff said, “they can call my animal control officer and they’ll find someone to help them.”

A hearing to determine custody of the seized animals will be held at 10 a.m. Friday before Justice of the Peace James Todd at the Anderson County Courthouse Annex.

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Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com

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