By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
CANTON, Mo. -- A Lewis County man is facing nearly three dozen misdemeanor charges after he was arrested Tuesday on animal abuse charges.
Kirby W. Clark, 57, of rural Canton was charged with one count of animal abuse and 31 counts of failure to properly dispose of dead animals. Clark is alleged to have had 32 dead cattle on farmland he owns near Highway 81 northeast of Canton.
Clark was arrested after someone sent a tip in March to the Lewis County Sheriff's Department saying that dead cattle in a small pond could be seen on Clark's farm. Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish said that he went to the farm and could see 13 carcasses from the road. He then contacted the Missouri Department of Agriculture to get a field veterinarian to help with the investigation.
On March 21, Parrish served a search warrant to Clark and searched the farm. Parrish said investigators found 28 dead cattle in a small pond and four other dead cattle in other areas of the farm. Parrish said two of the other cows were found in outbuildings on the property in different stages of decomposition, one calf was stuffed up under a feeder trough and another calf was found dead in a field.
Parrish said Clark told investigators that the cattle found in the pond had fallen through ice during the winter.
Parrish said all of the cows found in the pond were at least several hundred pounds each with some cows weighing more than 500 pounds. Parrish did not know how long any of the cows had been dead.
Parrish said Missouri law states that dead cows must be properly disposed of within 24 hours of their death by burying the cows or having them cremated.
"(Clark) didn't do that, so we think he's in violation of the law," Parrish said.
Parrish said no one lived on the land where the cattle were found.
If convicted, Clark faces up to a year in prison on the animal abuse count, a Class A misdemeanor. Failure to properly dispose of dead animals is an unclassified misdemeanor. Clark was released after posting 10 percent of a $10,000 cash-only bond. His first court appearance has not been scheduled.