MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – A central Michigan farmer has been charged with animal cruelty and abandonment after 71 dead calves were discovered on his property.

An arrest warrant has been signed for 29-year-old John Montross of Deerfield Township.

Michigan State University Extension agriculture educator Kable Thurlow told the Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant that there could be a legitimate reason for the dead calves, which are difficult to care for. But he added it’s rare for so many to die.

“Usually, if someone loses a calf or two, they are working with a veterinarian or the (MSU) Extension,” said Thurlow, who is not part of the investigation.

Thurlow said calf hutches, which were lined up near the farm’s fence earlier this week, are typically used to separate the animals and prevent the spread of disease.

Montross is a member of the Deerfield Township Planning Commission.

The felony carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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