Kansas man charged with animal cruelty after 50 dead or neglected pets found

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A Kansas man is being charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty after an animal protection organization found more than 50 animals neglected or dead on his property. The agency’s discovery led to an investigation by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

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Kevin Vesterberg was in charge of caring for the animals, which he used for breeding to make money, the lead deputy on the case said, KSNT reported. The deputy found the neglected animals when he arrived at the property in late May.

Companion Animal Protection Society was the group that initially discovered the neglected animals.

“Our lead investigator was investigating a potential puppy mill in Ottawa County when she came across this horrendous livestock abuse case,” Debbie Miller, the Kansas Director of CAPS, said.

Miller went on to share that what they found at Vesterberg’s property was one of “the worst cruelty cases she has ever witnessed.”

There was a wide variety of animals Vesterberg was responsible for, including sheep, goats, and rabbits. The animals still alive had empty water troughs, oozing eyes, and hooves over a foot long.

It is not clear how many remains of deceased animals were found and how many animals are still on the property. There has not been any movement on the case since Richard Buck, the local county attorney, charged Vesterberg with the 10 counts.

On May 28, a Twitter account run by Buck, tweeted “Ah the life of a rural prosecutor, I just directed a deputy sheriff to take mug shots of goats… that’s intentionally plural,” before the account was deleted.

“We have deputies periodically checking in on the status of the animals,” Buck said to KSNT.

Currently, the animals are being given new homes, and only a handful remain, the lead deputy on the case said. CAPS, however, reported hearing something else.

“We were told they are still out there,” Miller said.

At the moment, Vesterberg is still in charge of the animals that remain, but CAPS is hoping to get a judge to grant it access to take over their care. That way, it will be able to move those that remain to a sanctuary.

“The obvious goals are to get the animals the care they need and to hopefully put a spotlight on animal cruelty in Kansas,” Miller said.

Vesterberg’s case is currently set for mid-August.