An Essex man has been charged with cruelty to animals for being complicit in the death of dozens of cows at his father’s dairy farm.
It happened in April at the Mathews Farm on Chapin Road in Essex. Police say 21 dead cows were discovered at the farm, along with an additional two that had to be put down. About two dozen other cows on the property had to be treated and relocated to another farm
Police say the farm’s owner, Earle Matthews, 75, became injured over the winter and could no longer care for his animals. His son, Jonathan Matthews, was supposed to take over care of the animals. But Jonathan told authorities he quickly became overwhelmed and could not take care of the cows and they started dying.
The Agency of Agriculture says they inspected the farm months before the cows died and saw no red flags.
The case was reviewed by the Chittenden County State’s Attorney last week and the Essex Police cited Jonathan Matthews for Cruelty to Animals. He’s due in court later in June.
Meanwhile, in a separate case of dead cows in Brownington, Donovan Steele, 24, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of animal cruelty. Authorities back in March discovered dozens of dead cows and calves at the Hunt Hill Road farm. Steele, the son of the owners, had reportedly been left in charge of the farm.