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Feb 26, 2010 7:22 PM by Jim Hummel

Animal Cruelty Investigation

A St. Mary Parish rancher is under investigation after complaints of animal cruelty. Between 15 and 20 livestock were found dead, and as many as 200 others are being medically evaluated.

When asked about the condition of the livestock on his ranch, owner Freddie Sellers replied, "they're in good condition."

Despite his claim, the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office is investigating complaints that the animals on the ranch have been neglected. It's unlike any other case Sheriff David Naquin has ever seen.

"We've gotten calls out of Washington D.C. for assistance, trying to give us some direction because obviously this is something a little bigger than anything I've ever dealt with before or anybody in my office," Naquin said.

Sellers is cooperating with authorities, he says he has been in the hospital recently, but had people keeping an eye on his livestock. He blames the conditions on his ranch not on neglect, but instead on the wet winter, saying muddy fields are making it difficult for grass to grow, and even getting some animals stuck.

"It's the worst that it's been in 30 years, we got all that December rain, it flooded out all this land, and I've been feeding them since November," Sellers said.

As of now, Sellers is not charged with any crime, St. Mary Parish Sheriff David Naquin says all the animals are being assessed by a state veterinarian. Naquin says he'll consult with that veterinarian first, before moving forward with any charges.

Jim Hummel

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