Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19091
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: cow
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Saturday, Dec 31, 2011

County: Marshall

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Kevin Strope

A local man is facing animal cruelty charges after 16 cows died of starvation on a Marshall County farm and many more were found malnourished.

Investigators with the Marshall County Sheriff's Department said the farm's owner, 53-year-old Kevin Strope, turned himself in to police. Strope was booked into the West Virginia Northern Regional Jail late Thursday and is facing 16 misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty. Officials said in cases like this, West Virginia State Code does not call for felony charges.

Strope remains free after posting $5,000 bond.

Officials said an investigation is ongoing at the farm at 884 Dragon Highway in Cameron, also known as U.S. Route 250.

Officials said neighbors filed a formal complaining with the sheriff's department on Dec. 31. Veterinarians that examined the dead animals determined the cattle died from starvation.

"The animals had been dying for approximately three weeks. So at this point, we obtained a court order to seize the remaining animals," Marshall County Chief Deputy Kevin Cecil said on Thursday.

Cecil said the cattle are obviously malnourished and said, "They're very large animals. And to starve a cow, I would think would be a pretty difficult thing to do."

He called the case heartbreaking.

"This is probably one of the top three or four cases that I recall in … the 18 years that I've been here," Cecil said, adding that the case is extensive.

Marshall County officers are expected to take the remaining living animals -- at least 16 cows -- from the farm and relocate them. Cecil said while mistreated dogs and cats can be easily relocated, large farm animals pose a challenge.

"It's a fairly extensive process, getting the available property to house the animals, getting the food, getting stock trailers to remove the animals," Cecil said. a rescue problem.

The county will initially pay the cost of saving the surviving animals. Without rapid response, Cecil said the surviving cows could also die.

"The main concern and priority right now is not what it is costing. It's to take care of these animals," Cecil said. "The county purchased yesterday and provided last night protein blocks and have taken those protein blocks to that field."

Cecil said on Thursday that after the survivors are taken care of, crews will remove the dead cattle from the farm

Officials said Strope lives on the farm and has a full-time job in Martins Ferry.


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