Justin DeLoach had a beef with some cows that repeatedly broke into his property and ate his horse’s feed, but the way that police say he dealt with the conflict is utterly disturbing.
Authorities in Flagler County, Fla., say DeLoach, 23, shot six cows in the face, rump, ribs and shoulders, causing them to bleed profusely, according to WESH-TV.
DeLoach told police that he fired into the air, intending to scare the animals so they would move, UPI.com reported.
Two of the cows suffered moderate to severe injuries to their faces, and the other four suffered injuries to their ribs, shoulders and rumps, Klare Ly, public information officer for the 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office, told the New York Daily News.
“The owner heard gunfire near his house,” Ly told the Daily News. “So he went outside to investigate and noticed that a few of his cows were missing from his property. He went around the yard and noticed the gate was open. That’s when he found some of his cows bleeding.”
The cows’ owner, who, at this point, is only identified as “Adam,” reportedly tried to talk with DeLoach, but the suspect didn’t answer the door, even after deputies arrived.
The next day, DeLoach gave a written statement to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Dept. saying the cows “busted” past his fence onto his land and ate all of his horses’ feed, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. DeLoach also said he tried to chase the cows off, but when that didn’t work, grabbed a shotgun and fired birdshot into the air to frighten the cows.
“Justin stated that he has been dealing with the cows coming onto his property for years,” according to the paper.
DeLoach was charged with the second-degree felony of killing or aggravated abuse of horses or cattle.
A vet who examined the cows is treating them with antibiotics before they are sold, but experts admit the injuries could affect their market value, according to WESH-TV.