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Three Cows Shot and Killed; Two Teens Charged

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La Porte County Sheriffs Police say two juveniles, age 14 and 17, are in custody after three cows were shot and killed at a rural La Porte County farm. Deputies responded shortly after 10 pm Wednesday to Scipio Township, where they found three Holstein dairy heifers had been killed, their bodies discovered within fifteen feet from the roadway. Both teenage suspects have been charged with three counts of Killing a Vertebrate Animal, and three counts of Criminal Recklessness, all felonies.

The victim told police one of the cows was pregnant. Sheriff Michael Mollenhauer issued a statement saying, “The killing of these cows was senseless and the animal cruelty charges are the result of “Ben’s Law”, House Bill 1468, which went into effect in 2009.”  Sheriff Mollenhauer says Ben’s Law makes it a class “D” felony for a person who knowingly or intentionally kills a domestic animal without the owner’s consent, and it went into effect as the result of the 2008 killing of a Belgian draft horse named Ben in La Porte County.

More information from LaPorte County Sheriffs Police news release:

THREE COWS SHOT AND KILLED IN RURAL LA PORTE COUNTY FARM;  TWO (2) JUVENILES IN CUSTODY

On Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at approximately 10:13 pm, deputies from the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office were summoned to the 5100 south block of County Road 425 West, in Scipio Township, in reference to shots being fired.  Upon arrival deputies met with the complainant who stated that he had discovered that several of his cattle that had been shot.  It was soon determined that three (3) Holstein dairy heifers had been killed.  The cattle were all discovered within about fifteen (15) feet from the roadway. 

The complaint, who was also the owner of the cattle, reported that he had been in his nearby home when he heard about five (5) gunshots and looked outside and observed a vehicle traveling slowly south along County Road 425 West.  The victim got into his vehicle and attempted to locate the vehicle and was able to obtain a license plate number and report it to the deputies.  A short while later the vehicle, bearing the license plate that had been provided, was located in the City of La Porte by La Porte County Sheriff Deputies Brett Swanson and Paul Adams. 

Due to the nature of the offense, Sheriff’s Detectives were summoned and an investigation was initiated.  As a result, two (2) juveniles were ultimately charged with three counts of Killing a Vertebrate Animal, all class “D” felonies  and three (3) counts of Criminal Recklessness, which are also class “D” felonies.  They are being housed in the La Porte County Juvenile Services Center.  The juveniles are ages 17 and 14. 

The victim has indicated that one (1) of the Holstein heifers had been bred and was pregnant and the other two (2) had yet to be bred.  They were each valued at approximately $1,500 and the Sheriff’s Office and La Porte County Prosecuting Attorney will be seeking restitution for the value of the cows. 

Sheriff Michael Mollenhauer stated:  “The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office will not tolerate violent acts such as this and as evidence, upon discovering the death of these cows, resources were assigned and two juveniles were located identified and detained.”  Sheriff Mollenhauer added:  “The killing of these cows was senseless and the animal cruelty charges are the result of “Ben’s Law”, House Bill 1468, which went into effect in 2009.”  Ben’s Law makes it a class “D” felony for a person who knowingly or intentionally kills a domestic animal without the owner’s consent. It went into effect as the result of the 2008 killing of a Belgian draft horse named Ben  in La Porte County.
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