A Humboldt County rancher was arrested this week on suspicion of animal cruelty after nearly 300 dead cows were found stacked in 10-foot-high piles on his property, authorities said.
Sheriff’s deputies served search warrants to four properties in northern Humboldt County owned by Raymond Frank Christie, 54, of Arcata, on Monday after a five-month investigation into “large-scale animal cruelty,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
One of the properties searched was on 295 Jackson Ranch Road outside Arcata. Christie owns 29 parcels in Arcata, Eureka, McKinleyville, Trinidad and Ferndale, according to the Humboldt County Assessors Office.
Upon serving the warrants, detectives found the tall piles of dead cattle near an excavator and other carcasses decomposing near waterways, authorities said. Many cows that survived were found malnourished in small corrals.
The Humboldt Del Norte Cattlemen’s Association called the scene detectives encountered “horrific and disturbing” in a press release. The organization said Christie was not a member.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife documented 45 violations as part of the property search and Humboldt County Animal Control discovered another 22 violations, including dogs kept in unsanitary conditions without water, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Christie was booked into Humboldt County Jail on charges of animal cruelty, causing an animal to be cruelly killed, failure to provide proper animal care and disposal of a carcass within 150 feet of a waterway. He was released after posting $25,000 bail.