"We have not found any conduct on the part of the owner of the horses and bulls located on FM 969 which constitutes criminal animal cruelty." This statement came from the Sheriff himself after the pictured horse died slowly on the property under no shade. Outside temperature at that time was 103 degrees. A concerned citizen jumped the barbed wire fence to try and help the horse by providing water. " I couldn't hold back tears as I talked to the sheriff... The owner eventually came out with his wife and kicked me off his property. I begged him to put the suffering creature out of his misery but he insisted none of it was my business and told me to get the hell on. Still no sheriff...so I did". The pictures of "Angel" the name given to the horse after he died caught the attention of the local media: news stations and newspapers.
In fact, here is what one news reporter said "While working on a story about a possible animal abuse case in Bastrop County, we saw this bull having trouble walking because its back leg was injured.This was at the same ranch where an emaciated horse died Saturday. The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office says it is investigating the claims. I hope this animal gets the care it deserves."
Numerous complaints have been made to Sheriff Cook's office throughout the years regarding the animals on this property but all complaints have been disregarded. Twelve people attended the Bastrop County Commissioners meeting to call an agenda item on cruelty investigations in Bastrop County including the Humane Society of the United States Texas Director. The same day Sheriff Cook ignored the letter sent to him by the HSUS offering help with the case, with treating the animals with free vet care and with taking them to a sanctuary if need be. Sheriff Cook would not answer any questions pertaining to a necropsy of the horse and advised everyone to stay off the property. A local journalist has submitted an open records request. Sheriff Cook’s office has replied that there have never been any complaints on this property before. Claims have been made that the owner of the property is related to the District Attorney of Bastrop County and a criminal history of this individual reflects 22 cases of multiple felonies and misdemeanors including but not limited to indecency with a child, indecent exposure, deadly conduct and much more - please see attached image for full record.
On August 31, The Texas Humane Legislation Network sent a letter to Sheriff Cook explaining that Texas Legislation takes animal cruelty extremely serious. It is explained to Sheriff Cooke "in accordance with Texas statutes, law enforcement’s job is not to comment on whether it found “animal cruelty,” thus creating multiple issues including but not limited to tainting any future jury pool or otherwise." The letter goes on to include case law and findings in regards to animal cruelty, neglect, torture and where Texas stands when reports are made involving such.
Please help us get justice for Angel by donating to cover the expenses of a billboard that is meant for Sheriff Cook. Let's make sure that the remaining animals on this property will not suffer the same fate, help us make sure that law enforcement in Bastrop County and beyond know that the citizens want animal abusers punished as set forth by Texas law. We will not stand for negligence nor abuse of power by Sheriff Cook nor anyone else in a position such as his.
Thank you to all the reporters who have been following the story and to everyone who continues to raise concerns via social media. Special thanks to Bastrop County Animal Advocates and to Action for Animals Austin.
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