Farmer accused of animal cruelty after 71 dead calves found on property
A farmer in Isabella County is facing a felony count of abandoning and cruelty to animals after 71 dead calves were found on his property.
John William Montross, of Mount Pleasant, has a warrant out for his arrest from the Isabella County District Court.
According to court documents, 71 dead calves were found under snow and hay on his property.
Mike Smalley has lived next to Montrossâ??s farm in Mount Pleasant for 30 years. He said the adult cows always seemed healthy out in the field, but he didn't even know his neighbor was raising young cattle.
â??I can see right over there from our place, right over into the field,â?? said Smalley. â??I have never noticed any bodies or corpses or anything like that or any odd odor. You'd think I'd pick that up if something was going on.â??
Smalley was surprised to hear about the warrant for his neighborâ??s arrest.
â??This is the first time I've heard of a problem with neglect or animal cruelty or not feeding them.â??
The sheer number of dead animals leads Smalley to believe that it isn't a simple case of a harsh winter or a disease outbreak.
â??It seems like you'd be able to get a hold of somebody to take care of the situation rather than let the bodies decompose,â?? said Smalley.
Another neighbor was just as surprised to find out what happened. He said he had flies a couple days ago, and can now guess as to where they were coming from.
Because the investigation is still ongoing, neither animal control nor the prosecutor are willing to talk with us.
According to the Associated Press, Montross is a member of the Deerfield Township Planning Commission.
Abandoning and cruelty to ten or more animals is a four-year felony.
Montross has not yet been arrested.