Haskell County Man Charged With Animal Cruelty

Wednesday, March 26th 2008, 8:40 pm
By: News On 6

A Haskell County man faces animal cruelty charges.  Authorities say Troy Coate starved his goats.  The News On 6's Chris Wright reports Coate was arrested on Tuesday and charged with one count of animal cruelty for starving a goat.  But, neighbors say dozens of goats died and this could have been prevented.

The evidence is still strewn all over Troy Coate's property.  It's littered with goat carcasses and skulls.  Neighbor Emily Rooker only recently spotted the bones.

"When I saw that, I felt really responsible because it's something I tried to prevent," said Emily Rooker.

Emily says she began calling the Haskell County Sheriff's Office last summer after noticing that Coate's goats looked malnourished.  She says the department didn't respond, so she started snapping these pictures of the dead animals which included a dog.

Emily didn't want to call the sheriff's department on her neighbor, but she says she had little choice after finding that his property was full of goat carcasses.

"I'm not so much concerned with my neighbor being charged.  I want these animals to be able to be rescued and taken care of. If I had land, I'd do it myself.  I don't," said Emily Rooker.

Coate was arrested Tuesday after being charged with one count of animal cruelty for allegedly starving one goat.  But, Emily says her pictures clearly show that more than one animal died.

"He had like 30 or 40 goats, and now there are only seven.  It has taken most of those animals dying for them to do anything.  That's what I'm so frustrated about," said Emily Rooker.

Frustration, she says, at an incident of animal cruelty she believes could have been avoided.

"He could have sold half of them, and fed the other half.  To just let them die, it broke my heart.  It was awful," said Emily Rooker.

The Haskell County District Attorney's Office says that, as of now, the county has no plans to seize the rest of Coate's animals.

Emily says she has people lined up who are willing to rescue them.  But, without a court order, authorities say there is little they can do.