An eastern Oregon rancher has been indicted by a grand jury after authorities say they discovered dead and starving cattle.
The East Oregonian reports that an Umatilla County grand jury on Feb. 28 indicted 55-year-old Michael Hockensmith, of Hermiston, on 14 counts of first-degree animal neglect and 186 counts of second-degree animal neglect.
Each count in the indictment represents one animal in the herd.
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office says that on Jan. 7 deputies went to Hockensmith’s Cedar Creek Cattle Company and found 14 dead cattle and 15 others too malnourished to be safely moved from the pasture.
Sheriff Terry Rowan says $30,000 has been spent on feed and vaccinations, but three more animals have died.
Hockensmith is scheduled to appear in court in early April.