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Grand Island man facing felony animal abuse charges

(WITN)
Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 5:25 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A Grand Island man is facing multiple animal cruelty charges after cattle was found dead and injured on his property last month.

Grant Edwardson, 41, has been charged with 24 felony counts of abandon/cruel neglect of livestock resulting in injury or death. He’s also been charged with three misdemeanor counts of abandon/cruelly neglect livestock.

Edwardson appeared in Hall County Court on Wednesday where the judge set his bond at $5,000. He paid 10 percent of the bond and has since bonded out.

Back on March 5, Hall County Sheriff deputies responded to a barn fire at 4078 W. Wildwood Road in Grand Island.

According to the arrest affidavit, Hall Co. Deputy Melissa Kier observed a row of deceased cattle in a pen, not directly next to the barn, with drag marks showing the cattle were moved. In a pen next to the barn, she also observed a cattle shelter with dead cattle in three stalls and another dead cow in the middle of the pen under a wood panel.

The affidavit goes on to say deputies notified animal control.

Once taking over the investigation, Animal Control Officers Morgan Mohr and Jessie Romero observed several live cows that did not appear to be in good condition.

Court documents said the dead cattle appeared to have been dead for some time.

Animal Control offiers located several other deceased cows covered by pallets and plywood in addition to the once observed by Deputy Kier. There were also cattle inside the burning barn.

Dr. Kendal Smith-Gomez, a veterinarian with Animal Clinic of Hastings, responded to the scene to examine the living and deceased cattle.

The veterinarian observed 21 deceased bovine animals and six living ones.

Four of the deceased animals (one mature cow and three calves) were examined in a dry lot north of the burned barn. The cow’s dental condition indicated she would have not died due to winter conditions if adequate feed were available.

The vet said the three calves observed little to no cardiac or renal fat indicating emaciation and starvation prior to death.

She estimated the calves were dead less than a week.

In another area, the veterinarian examined ten cows and seven calves dead in a row on top of one another. She estimated the cattle died within the last month due to the conditions of the bodies. The affidavit states all seven calves were emaciated prior to death. The mature cows showed dental condition indicating they would not have succumbed to winter conditions if adequate nutrition were available.

Dr. Smith-Gomez noted a two acre paddock attached to the area with minimal grass and feedstuffs. The doctor estimated 90 percent of the paddock’s grass was eaten down to nothing and in many places, the dirt was licked dry.

She also examined the six live bovine.

According to the affidavit, the calf she looked at was in respiratory distress. There were also two bulls that were severely emaciated. She recommended humane euthanasia for these animals. The other animals she looked at showed signs of malnutrition.

In a statement to animal control officers, Edwardson claimed the cows all died during the winter and, due to a dispute with the Darling rendering plant, he could not have the cows picked up.

The affidavit states that Officer Mohr spoke with the plant and learned that they had not done business with the suspect since 2018.

The Hall County Attorney’s Office attempted to notify Edwardson via a letter about his Hall County Court date. When he failed to appear, an arrest warrant was issued.

He was taken into custody on Tuesday, but has since bonded out.

His preliminary hearing is set for June 22 at 9 a.m.

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