Malnourished Livestock Found In Muskogee County On Road To Recovery

Monday, February 9th 2015, 7:16 pm
By: News On 6

Nearly 40 cattle and horses were buried near Haskell after the Muskogee County sheriff found one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he's ever seen.

Deputies said hundreds of other animals survived, but are malnourished. The owner of the property where the animals were found, Dan McWilliams, was arrested.

More than 200 cattle and horses are now at a Muskogee ranch, about 10 miles from where they were found.

They're fenced in with hay and fresh water – something the livestock hasn't had access to in a while. The goal is to nurse all of them back to health.

"You can look at them and tell they are happier here," said Muskogee County Sheriff, Charles Pearson.

On Sunday the horses and cattle walked around a Haskell pasture, just feet away from dead animals.

2/8/2015 Related Story: Officials Find Dozens Of Dead, Neglected Livestock On Muskogee County Ranch

Monday, heavy machinery was used to dig holes to bury the 28 dead horses and eight cows. The remaining livestock were taken to the Muskogee ranch.

"They aren't good, but they are alive, so that is a good thing," said rancher Sean Prater.

Prater has been busy tending to them; one of the first steps was separating the rambunctious males from the mares.

"The way they were, the more dominate ones would run the weaker ones off and so the weaker ones would never eat. The mares weren't getting enough to eat to feed their babies," he said.

Some cattle are so weak they are having a hard time even standing up; and many are infected with parasites.

"The parasites that are affecting these animals, we don't exactly know what we've got," Pearson said.

The next step is having a veterinarian check each and every animal.

They might one day be available for adoption, at the court's discretion, but for now they will be getting nursed back to health.

"I think if we don't have any hard freezes or anything between now and the next 30 days, we will be in good shape," Pearson said.

Prater said, “I think they are on the road to recovery. I think they are in a good place."

McWilliams went to court for the first time Monday, he faces over 20 counts of animal cruelty and the sheriff said that number will likely go up.