COLUMBUS - A Stillwater County District Court judge has denied a motion to return cattle to a rancher accused of animal cruelty.
Judge Olivia Rieger issued the order Monday, stating "a preponderance of the evidence" showed the rancher, Jack Myers, subjected the cattle to "cruelty, abuse or neglect" as defined by state law.
The order follows a hearing held last week in which Myers asked the court to return his cattle while he awaits trial on three counts of felony aggravated animal cruelty.
In May, deputies with the Stillwater County Sheriff's Office seized a herd of 268 cows and 189 calves from the Triple Tree Ranch near Rapelje.
Court documents allege the cattle were in a pasture that didn't have enough grass to sustain them and other cattle in a corral were eating manure to eat out what little grass there was left.
A state-licensed veterinarian who responded to the ranch, Dr. Daniel Roe, testified at the hearing last week that there was plenty of hay for a portion of the herd located in a pen, but the hay was just out of the cow's reach beyond the fence.
"We saved their life. Just as much as taking an abused child out of an abused home," Roe said during the hearing.