A felony count of animal abuse and torture was filed Monday against a Versailles man after the Morgan County Sheriff's Department found multiple dead and malnourished cattle on his property along Missouri 135.
The Morgan County Sheriff's Department still has 49 misdemeanor charges pending against Edward Coleman, 70, relating to the case, which is still under investigation.
"All the charges play into the one felony," said Lt. Mike Nienhuis, who filed the probable cause statement for the sheriff's department. "You still must prove torture. Instead of filing all of the others, we are leaving those open until we see where the felony goes in this case."
The pending misdemeanors include 14 charges of animal abuse/torture, 20 charges of animal neglect or abandonment, and 15 charges of violating provisions regarding disposal of dead animals.
Nienhuis was contacted by veterinarian Dane Henry with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Jan. 3 and was advised there were some cattle that he believed were malnourished and starving.
Nienhuis executed a search warrant on Jan. 9 with the assistance of the USDA veterinarian and the Humane Society of Missouri.
Authorities found 15 deceased cattle in some form of decomposition, 13 skulls and other bones, and 20 cows and calves in very poor condition were located on Coleman's property, which is across from his residence along 135.
The veterinarian stated the remaining cattle were malnourished and starving.