FORT SUMNER, N.M. (KRQE) - A New Mexico man is facing animal cruelty charges in what livestock officials are calling the biggest case of cruelty they've ever dealt with. At least 25 cattle were found dead, deserted on a ranch while Livestock Board officials say more than 1,000 were nearly starving to death. Now, authorities are searching for the man they say is responsible.
It's a deserted scene near at Double V Ranch near Fort Sumner, where New Mexico Livestock Board officials said more than 1,000 head of cattle are living, some barely surviving.
"They're being totally neglected, there's no forage or any means for them to survive out there," said Ray Baca, of the New Mexico Livestock Board.
Baca said a couple weeks ago, they received an anonymous complaint about the property.
Now the owner, 69-year-old Richard Evans, has a warrant out for his arrest for 25 counts of extreme animal cruelty from De Baca County, one count for each found dead.
Officials served a search warrant on the property, and Saturday, Livestock Board officials showed up with truck-loads of hay to feed the cattle.
"July is coming about and its probably one of our hottest months in the year, July and August," Baca told KRQE News 13. "And if we don't get out there and move quick, you know the heat's going to be the major factor."
Aside from the lack of grass, there's no water. When Livestock Board officials showed up with feed, some cows couldn't even get up to eat it.
It's something the Livestock Board is seeing more and more. A similar abuse case recently involved 43 cows crammed on a tight lot.
"We're seeing it in a very large scale now because of the drought and such, but you know the way we look at it is there's still no excuse for it," said Baca.
The Livestock Board has claimed possession of the remaining cattle from De Baca County until the courts rule otherwise. Currently, officials will work to build up the cows' strength for transport.
Baca said it'll cost the Livestock Board a lot of money to care for the cattle. When they transport the cattle off of the property in the coming week, they'll have to pay roughly $3,000 a day just in feed alone.
Authorities have not yet located Evans.
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