On Sunday the Madison County Sheriff’s Department responded to a complaint over livestock roaming State Highway 92 near Winterset. What they found was much worse.
Police say the herd of 36 cattle’s only water source had been contaminated by a dead cow; the food they found was unfit to sustain life.
One cow was so sick, veterinarians had to put it down.
Wednesday night the Madison County Sheriff’s Department arrested 51 year-old Tim Engnell. He’s charged with one count of Livestock Neglect.
Police say they’ve never seen anything like this.
“You see neglect, but on this scale…not this large. There’s a large number of animals involved. It was just very blatant he was not taking care of them” said Chief Deputy Jim Ascione.
If found guilty, Engnell faces up to a year in prison.
Deputy Ascione says this isn’t the first time his office has dealt with Engnell.
“We have a long…I guess an ongoing history with him. Since January of 2015 there’s been 55 documented calls to our office saying his cattle had been out” said Ascione.
The cattle are being nursed back to health at an undisclosed location.
County Attorney Matt Schultz says a hearing on Monday will decide if the state can continue caring for the animals.
“We need to protect the community; and part of the community are the animals that are part of our county” said Schultz.
The veterinarian overseeing the cattle says they are recovering well.