Dead livestock found in ditches around town

By Rachel LaCroix —

Multimedia Journalist

Dead livestock, particularly dead cattle, were dumped in the ditches of Erath County. According to Sheriff Matt Coates, there are one to two illegal livestock disposals every month, but there are not always offense reports made.

“We won’t do [an offense report] unless we have an actual suspect,” Coates said.

The dead livestock were brought to Coates’ attention about a year and a half ago. In that time alone between June 1, 2017 and Feb. 15, 2019 there were 16 offense reports made.

“If we can definitively say that this cow belongs to this person, now you have the offense, you have the suspect, you have the evidence. If the cow is unmarked with no numbers, it is technically an offense, but unless you can find out who dumped it there there’s no sense in doing anything,” Coates said. “There will be a call card, saying that we were called there, but no report due to lack of evidence.”

Improperly disposing of livestock can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the weight of the animal or if the animal was deposited in a waterway. Several of the cattle dumpings were made off of County Road 250, which is where the officers have been focusing their efforts.

“We had a couple of different instances on County Road 250. That’s the one we are hitting hardest right now because it seems to be recurring. All the others are one day it’s over here and the next day it’s over here, so it’s kind of hard to catch them with that,” Coates said.

To help put an end to the illegal disposal of these animals, you can report the animals to the sheriff’s office as soon as you see them or share any information you have with the sheriff’s office. Call 254-965-3338 or visit the Erath County Sheriff’s Office website http://co.erath.tx.us/sheriff.html.

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