EXETER, Neb. (KSNB) A state investigator said cattle in an Exeter feedlot were subjected to extremely wet and sloppy conditions and an excessive build-up of manure.
Local and state officials this week removed about 200 surviving head of cattle from the feedlot about three miles northwest of Exeter. Another 200 head of cattle were dead when investigators arrived on the scene Wednesday.
Criminal Investigator CJ Fell of the Nebraska Brand Committee confirmed to Local4 that they were investigating feedlot operator Aaron Ogren, 30. According to recent court documents, Ogren’s address is 1817 Road C, Exeter, NE, the same address as the feedlot in question.
Fell said that investigators were “working with” Ogren, that Ogren was communicating with them and that he was cooperating with the investigation.
Fell said the Committee, and investigators from the Fillmore County Sheriff’s office and the State Patrol were involved in what he called an ongoing investigation of theft allegations and animal neglect.
Fell said the feedlot had an extremely sloppy build-up of manure and it was extremely wet. When asked if the feedlot conditions could have been related to recent poor weather conditions, Fell said that could have been a factor, but not to the extent he found at the feedlot this week.
Fell said he was investigating whether the animals were neglected or abused, but declined to comment on whether they were properly fed. He said the cattle which were removed from the feedlot Wednesday and Thursday were in very poor condition.
Fell confirmed that some of the cattle in the feedlot were owned by a concern in Colorado and that he’s investigating theft allegations.
The Fillmore County Sheriff said people whose cattle were at the feedlot reported concerns about the living conditions and state of their animals.
“We’ve been investigating this feedlot for a couple weeks, and developed enough information to have a search warrant,” said William Burgess, Fillmore County Sheriff. Investigators served the search warrant at the property and then discovered the dead and neglected livestock.
Fell said that the results of the investigation would be turned over the Fillmore County Sheriff’s office. As of late Saturday morning, no court documents related to this investigation had been filed in Fillmore county.
Authorities removed more than 200 cattle, either in poor or questionable condition, from the feedlot and placed the animals at a nearby ranch to be monitored and receive care.
The Nebraska Brand Committee was created by the Legislature in 1941 to inspect livestock and investigate missing and/or stolen cattle. It is a self-supporting cash fund agency. Its operating funds come solely from fees collected for brand recordings, brand inspections and registered feedlots and dairies.
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