The Iowa County Sheriff’s Department is investigating 10 cows and a hog found dead on a farm in the town of Arena. Twenty-eight other malnourished cows were taken from the farm.
Investigators received an anonymous tip that the animals were not being fed properly. Sheriff’s deputies went to the farm, owned by Karl Nelson and Ann Nelson, on March 1. Investigators said the animals kept in the barn did not have a supply of water.
The 28 malnourished animals were taken from the farm, cared for and then re-homed.
Iowa County Sheriff Steve Michek told News 3 the investigators do not believe the owners of the animals intended to neglect them, but instead lacked the resources to care for them and the situation got away from them.
“They were doing the best they could to care for the animals, and it just got away from them,” Michek said.
Michek said individuals who find themselves in that situation should ask for help before the situation gets out of control. Humane societies and local law enforcement agencies are good resources to contact to request help.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out. There’s no stigma to it. We don’t want to be judgmental. We want to be here to help you and help your animals before it gets to be a crisis where it is a true emergency,” Iowa County Humane Officer Cheri Phillmore said.
The Nelson’s also operate a horse boarding operation on the farm. Investigators said all of the horses are being very well cared for, and that operation will not be impacted by the investigation.
Sheriff’s investigators are completing their report and it will be up to the district attorney to determine potential charges.