Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Oregon: Joshua Larkly, 40, accused of neglecting more than a 100 farm animals

OREGON -- A Culver man has been arrested on suspicion of keeping farm animals in squalor, with conditions bad enough to kill 14 animals, investigators say.

Joshua Larkly, 40, was arrested Monday after a weeklong investigation into his care of animals at a Culver farm. Court records show Larkly has not been formally charged with any crime related to animal neglect, and has yet to have an initial court appearance. However, he was arrested on suspicion of 14 counts of first-degree animal neglect, 86 counts of second-degree animal neglect and 14 counts of placing an offensive substance in a field, jail records show. Larkly is being held in the Jefferson County jail.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy Steve Keever said the investigation started April 24, when four pigs had gotten loose. Keever said deputies went to Larkly’s property on Elbe Drive to see if the pigs lived there.

At that point, they saw how the 110 farm animals on the property were being kept, Keever said.

Keever said the property contained three cows, six ducks and nine sheep. The remaining animals were equal portions pigs, goats and chickens.

Keever said all the animals were confined to two pens, one about 600 square feet, and one a little larger. Initially, investigators found three to five dead animals, he said.

Investigators contacted Larkly, who said he was the caretaker. He said his brother, Guy Larkly, was leasing the corner parcel, and owned the animals. Joshua Larkly gave the sheriff’s office permission to have a vet come out the next day to check the animals, Keever said. The vet told investigators the animals didn’t have water and weren’t provided with proper food, Keever said.

The next day, with the help of Mustangs to the Rescue and the permission of Joshua Larkly, nearly all the animals were moved to four different foster homes, Keever said. Some chickens and ducks were unable to be captured, though.

Keever said Mustangs to the Rescue provided assistance in the form of equipment and volunteers.

“We couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.

Mustangs to the Rescue is a Tumalo-based nonprofit aimed at rescuing abused or unwanted horses, according to its website.

Investigators want to speak with Guy Larkly, who is a trucker, but have not been able to reach him, Keever said.

Keever said investigators are under the impression that Guy Larkly owns the animals that were being neglected, but that investigation has yet to confirm that suspicion.

As far as why the animals were there in the first place, Keever said it’s a mystery. However, he did say nothing on the scene indicated the animals were being used for any kind of business.

“You basically have a guy who is out trucking, he has some animals and his brother is taking care of them,” he said.

(The Bulletin - May 3, 2017)