EAST MANATEE — The cattle weren’t just emaciated.
Six lay dead in a Myakka pasture.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous tip over the weekend that cattle were perishing at the ranch.
Sheriff’s investigators are forwarding the details of what they found Saturday at 12230 Rexrode Road to the state attorney’s office for the possible filing of charges, Sgt. Bill Riley said Wednesday.
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Ranch owner David G. Owen, 75, of Sarasota declined comment.
“I’m not making any statement. I’ve never experienced fair reporting in my business career,” Owen said.
Investigators found that conditions for two of the three herds at the ranch were acceptable, but that cattle in the third herd were in “extremely poor condition.”
Those cattle were moved elsewhere on the ranch where grass was ample. Investigators said they believed moving the cattle off the ranch might have stressed the herd too much and more would die.
“We are monitoring the care and demanding that certain things be done by the owner,” Riley said.
The stipulations include providing veterinary care and food supplements.
Jeff Scarbrough, the ranch manager, did not return a phone call Wednesday offering him an opportunity to comment.
The ranch is located 1.5 miles south of Singletary Road. Rexrode Road is an unpaved road that ends at a cattle gate. None of the distressed cattle could be seen from Rexrode Road on Wednesday.
Dave Bristow, spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, said they will be watching the remaining cattle at the ranch while waiting on the state attorney’s decision on whether to press charges.
“We are going to be monitoring, to check every two or three days,” Bristow said. “Hopefully, they will be all right.”