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County investigates cattle ranch abuse allegations

Riverside County Animal Services investigators are now looking into allegations of animal abuse and malnutrition after an animal advocate and nutritionist blasted the ranch on social media for claims of cattle dying on the Thermal property.

“They’ve been fed grass clippings and dirt. They’re licking dirt for days it’s just not right,” Christiana Green said to News Channel 3 reporter Sarah Trott. “There’s a whole bunch of cows that are completely unhealthy.”

Green is the owner of Epic Animal Treats and has worked with horses and cattle since she was a young girl. She says she’s witnessed dead animals hauled off the property for what she believes is malnutrition, tainted food and water supplies.

Riverside County Animal Services began investigating the claims but found no obvious red flags upon their initial sweep of the property.

Lt. Luis Rosa said the department looks for hip bones or ribs sticking out or showing in animals. They evaluate a variety of factors including feeding schedules and bills, food quantities and water sources as part of the investigation.

The ranch manager, Bret Larsen, confirmed two cow deaths, citing oleander as the cause for one of them. Oleander is a plant toxic to animals.

Larsen told News Channel 3 he feeds the animals grass clippings and sod from a nearby golf course he works for called Go Green Solutions. He said he also feeds them hay and alfalfa as well as dates, bakery byproduct and oranges.

Green says feeding cows golf course grass is concerning because the cows used for beef could be consuming pesticides. She said traces of oleander could be found in the grass from courses.

Larsen said the grass has been tested and is free from chemicals although he could not provide documentation to prove that claim. He said the golf course grass contains sufficient protein to feed the animals.

Riverside County Animal Services said hay is the recommended food to feed cattle, not grass trimmings, according to Public Information Officer John Welsh.

The county could not provide the name of the landowner or company name of the beef distribution business.

Stay with News Channel 3 as we follow this ongoing investigation.

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KESQ News Team


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