Bastrop sheriff determines no animal cruelty in livestock case

Bastrop County
Malnourished horse

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — A photograph of a what appeared to be a malnourished horse lying on the ground on a property in Bastrop Country spurred an investigation, but the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office says it did not find any conduct by the owner which constitutes animal cruelty. 

The agency started looking into complaints of animal cruelty at the property on Farm to Market 969 less than two weeks ago. KXAN also received numerous reports from concerned citizens about a sick and malnourished horse that appeared to be on the brink of death.

Sheriff Maurice Cook says in a Facebook post, during the investigation, the owner gave them “full cooperation” and “unfettered access to the property where the animals are located.”

Cook says they also asked a veterinarian who specializes in rodeo stock to inspect the animals and their conditions. A tour of the home showed the animals had “abundant” food and water, authorities say.

According to his Facebook post, the horses and bulls on the property were retired from the rodeo circuit and are living out their days on this property. 

After their investigation, Cook says he determined no criminal animal cruelty laws were violated. He says it is not illegal to allow an old animal to die naturally. The picture of the white horse that was shared on social media and used in KXAN’s report was 37 years old, authorities say. 

However, Cook says his agency will continue to monitor the property over the next several months to make sure the owner is continuing to abide by the law. 

“I want to assure you that we will continue to respond quickly to any reports of livestock abuse and will acquire the necessary resources to stop illegal animal cruelty in Bastrop County,” says Cook. 

The case will still be sent to the District Attorney’s Office for a secondary review. 

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