Officials probe deaths of cattle on area farm

Published 4:41 pm Friday, September 1, 2006

Agriculture officials are awaiting autopsy results on 10 cows that were found dead this week on a small farm inside the city limits.

Arthur Woullard said his family has raised cattle on the property near Palmer’s Crossing for over a century, but this is the first time something like this has happened.

Woullard said 10 of his 24 cattle died, and now the farmer has been cited for raising livestock inside the city limits. It is a violation of city ordinance to raise the cows inside the city.

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“We’re aware of the situation and we’re investigating. But there is no reason at all for public alarm,” Mississippi State University Extension Agent Mike Keene said.

Keene said an autopsy was conducted on the animals but results would not be available for about two weeks.

Woullard said he believes he may have received a batch of hay that had been sprayed with insecticide shortly before it was harvested.

“I seem to think it was the hay,” he said. “I gave them two rows Monday that had just been cut, and I found them dead Tuesday morning.”

Keene said feed had not been ruled out as a possible cause but said autopsy results would provide the final determination.

He also said the extension service is advising farmers about potential problems with feed.

City spokesman John Brown said city officials went to the farm Wednesday morning to bury the animals.

Woullard said the cows have not been sick in the past and that the autopsy did not return any indication of communicable diseases.

“It’s not a disease,” Woullard said. “There ain’t no contamination or mad cow or anthrax or nothing like that.”