Advocates offer to help Bastrop Co Livestock Investigation

- The livestock on property along Blakey Lane just north of Bastrop, showed no signs Monday of being in distress.

Despite that outward appearance Bastrop County Commissioners Court were urged to get involved with helping the animals by Katie Jarl with the Humane Society of the United States.

“We think it’s finally time for the sheriff’s office to step up and do the investigation bring in some help so we can do it right,” said Jarl.

The Humane Society officially offered to help with any investigation, said Jarl.

“We know that livestock cases can be a big undertaking, especially for a small rural sheriff’s department, and that’s why our organization is willing and able to provide free veterinary care, placement services, assistance with the cruelty investigation portion of this, our organization partners with sheriff’s departments across the country, we do it all the time,” said Jarl.

This all began after images of an emaciated and dying horse were posted on social media earlier this month. The pictures outraged animal advocates like Joanne Egitto 

“To stay silent is to give consent, and this kind of treatment of animals of any kind is not OK,” said Egitto.

The commissioners made no comment during the meeting about the animals and went into executive session on an unrelated matter. They later left the building without saying if they would accept help from the Humane Society, or if they will put the issue on the agenda for the next meeting.

Monday afternoon a spokesperson for county judge said he may bring up for discussion the border issue of how cruelty cases are investigated during the next Commissioners Court meeting.

Sheriff Cook also made a quick exit Monday and made no comment about the formal written offer for assistance that the Humane Society sent him last week.

“We have not gotten any response from the Sheriff, sadly,” said Jarl.

The sheriff, Monday afternoon, told FOX-7 Austin that he intended to issue an update on the case sometime Tuesday. The Sheriff last week expressed doubt that what’s taking place on the ranch rises to the level of Animal Cruelty.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Sheriff Cook said;

“Based on a preliminary review, all of the livestock has adequate food and water.” 

In the post, the sheriff explained the property owner was once in the Rodeo industry, and that most of the animals on the property are retired rodeo stock.

According to Cook, the animals are being allowed to die naturally, and there is  also a reason for the questionable health conditions; like what FOX-7 spotted from the roadway last week.

The sheriff indicated that animals are hobbled because of past injuries, and signs of starvation are actually the aging process.

That explanation, doesn't’t convince residents like Laura Scott.
“This is not just an isolated incident, we are hoping this opens up the door for some re-evaluation for several situations going on in this county,” said Scott.

Sheriff Cook said his update will be posted on the Facebook page for the sheriff’s office. He does not intend to make an on camera statement.

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