Prosecutors charge 74-year-old Ravalli Co. man with felony animal cruelty


HAMILTON, Mont. - The Ravalli County Attorney has charged a 74-year old Ravalli County man with aggravated animal cruelty.

The Ravalli County Sheriff's Department is working with the Bitterroot Humane Association and volunteers to place dozens of animals in temporary care after being confiscated from a farm on Hamilton's west side.

The suspected animal neglect case brought more than 20 sheep, 11 cows and two yaaks to the fairgrounds. There is also a horse, three donkeys, plus chickens, geese and ducks that were taken.

Some of the animals are being cared for by private parties. Others still haven't been captured.

The Humane Association and volunteers are working with law enforcement to get the animals fed and sheltered.

"The owner of these animals is elderly," said Undersheriff Steve Holton, "and has failing health issues."

The undersheriff said at this point it doesn't appear these animals were purposely starved. They just weren't being fed enough to sustain them through the weather we're having.

A friend said the owner is a kind man, who has always loved his animals.

The Bitterroot Humane Association is not equipped to handle livestock. Feed and hay donations are being accepted.