E. Oregon rancher indicted after dead, starving cattle found

HERMISTON, Ore. (AP) - An eastern Oregon rancher has been indicted by a grand jury after authorities say they discovered dead and starving cattle.

The East Oregonian reports ( in a story on Saturday that the indictment against 55-year-old Michael Hockensmith of Hermiston includes 14 counts of first-degree animal neglect and 186 counts of second-degree animal neglect.

Each count in the indictment represents one animal in the herd.

The Umatilla County Sheriff's Office says that on Jan. 7 deputies went to Hockensmith's Cedar Creek Cattle Company and found 14 dead cattle and 15 others too malnourished to be safely moved from the pasture.

Sheriff Terry Rowan says $30,000 has been spent on feed and vaccinations, but three more animals have died.

Hockensmith is scheduled to appear in court in early April.

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