LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A man faced an animal cruelty charge in Lawrence County district court after over 60 cows were discovered starved to death in his possession. An animal rescue group said 14-20 of them died of starvation.
According to the district court clerk, Nathanael Lee Finley pleaded guilty Friday for the condition of the cows.
Animal rescue groups such as the NEA Humane Society and Five Rivers Animal Aid helped get the ball rolling on this case after several in the community complained about the sight of the cattle in January.
"The community was very concerned," said Snow Burrow, president of the Five Rivers Animal Aid. "The cattle could be seen from the roadway on his property that is on what use to be called Cemetery Road between Imboden and Black Rock."
Burrow said it was truck drivers who noticed the scene and reached out to the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office.
"They were so upset by what they saw, they were even in court today to make sure justice was served against the owner," said Burrow.
Now Burrow said she, the community, and other animal rescue groups are happy with the judge's decision because it set a precedent.
"There is not enough law on the books to protect our domestic animals as it is but when it comes to livestock, cattle, pigs there's even less so it can go either way. That's why this is a big deal because we feel like it was a big step," said Burrow.
Burrow said she hopes people understand that people are watching and as they become more educated about animal cruelty situations, they will be quick to do something about it.
"There are not just going to sit around and let it happen," said Burrow. "I would encourage any and everyone who sees anything like this happening, to contact their local law officials. They will reach out to us, and there will be animal rescue groups assisting."
Finley faces a court fine of $640 and has to pay $2,500 in restitution. He was also given a year of suspended imposition of sentence.
Finley is due back in court August 18.
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