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Florida man faces 144 animal abuse charges

Posted at 7:29 PM, May 02, 2018

 A Florida man has been charged with 144 counts related to cruelty to animals.

The State Attorney's Office has charged 51-year-old Robert David Starkweather after investigators found what 77 cows, 48 calves, and 2 donkeys found on his Hendry County farm.

Photos taken by the local Sheriff's Office showed animals as bags of bones.

"That's got to be the most horrific fate, worst way to go," local animal rescuer Carey Kendzior said. "These are massive animals and it would take months to let it get to that point of cruelty and neglect. There's no excuse."

Rescuers came too late for some. There were 13 animals found dead upon arrival.

"I don't care who you are. No reason for you to be in charge of animals," Kendzior said.

The Hendry County Sheriff's Office investigated the case with assistance from both the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the Collier County Sheriff's Office. The animals were sized and were taken from the property and moved to another location.

One calf died and five had to be euthanized due to their poor health conditions after being looked at by a veterinarian.

Dr. Laura Braun is a vet in Fort Myers. Braun was disturbed when she saw the photos. 

"That's not how cattle are supposed to look, not even close," she said.

Starkweather will be arraigned on May 17.