Sheriff warns other farmers after cattle poisoning
The Lyon County Sheriff's Department is investigating an intentional poisoning of nearly one hundred cattle.
Since Tuesday, dozens of cattle have died on the Moser ranch near Alvord, Iowa.
"This is what they do, they get sick, they go down and then they start paddling, then that's the end of it," Joel Moser said.
Moser says the past week at his farm has felt like something out of a horror film.
"They're sitting there dying in front of me," Moser said. "It takes four hours for them to die, it doesn't get much worse than that. I realize it isn't a human being, my children and my wife are fine, but this is just unbelievable, its hard to watch."
Test results from the Iowa state lab confirm the dead cattle had extremely high levels of lead.
"At this point this is a criminal investigation, it does look like it was done willfully by somebody," Lyon County Sheriff Stewart VanderStoep said.
The Lyon County Sheriff's department says someone threw a tractor battery inside the Moser's feeder wagon.
"It mixed and mixed that battery until it busted up and spread out through the whole batch of feed," Moser said.
Sheriff VanderStoep said there's a lot of lead in a battery, enough to knock out most of the 102 head of cattle who received the contaminated feed.
Now Moser is tallying up what's left of his livelihood. By Friday morning roughly 40 cattle had died, but it's not over yet. The cattle that are still standing right beside the dead are very sick themselves, and will likely not make it through the weekend.
"The whole yard's going to die eventually here," Moser said. "There's nothing we can do."
It's an emotional loss for Moser, as well as well as financial. This many cattle would have sold for tens of thousands this fall.
"When they're almost ready to go, that's the end gate, that's what you're working towards and now its not going to happen," Moser said.
"This is their livelihood, this is what the majority of Lyon county people do, and to find out that someone would purposefully do that is quite disturbing," Sheriff VanderStoep said.
Right now the Lyon County sheriff's department does not have a suspect.
They are warning all farmers in the area to be extra cautious.
"All the farmers with cattle should pay more attention to who's coming into their yards, making sure things aren't disturbed in their buildings." Sheriff VanderStoep said.