Cow brutality case gets continuance

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CANFIELD, Ohio – Mahoning County Court Judge Scott Hunter granted a continuance Oct. 12 in the three cases of young men charged with criminal trespass and vandalism stemming from a summer spree that left a herd of dairy cattle severely maimed or traumatized.

The attorneys for Ryan Russo, Patrick Lane and Ryan Stevens were granted an extension to consider additional evidence of long-term losses by Mahoning County dairy farmers David and Kathy Moff.

The three have plead not guilty to the charges.

June attack. One night in June, the vandals entered a pasture with seven bred heifers and 37 cows. Using baseball bats and light bulb tubes, they allegedly assaulted the cows, leaving eight with slash wounds, including cuts that ran the length of the cow’s body, and eight cows with broken ribs and/or massive bruises.

Aftershocks. The Moffs continue to feel the aftershocks of the wanton vandalism of their cows.

Their Holstein herd remains skittish, jumpy and nervous, which has contributed to a drop in milk production from the herd average of 70 pounds per day per cow to 58 pounds per day. Because his herd is a closed herd, Moff is reluctant to buy replacement heifers or cows.

“You don’t know what these cows are going to do,” said David Moff. “They’re edgy. It doesn’t take anything to set these cows off. If anything hits metal, there are legs flying all over the barn.”

“The whole herd was victimized,” Moff added. “The whole herd was in this pasture; the whole herd was run through the fence.”

He estimates he’s lost 40,000 pounds of milk production since the incident and is worried the three defendants will receive little more than a slap on the wrist.

“People just think this is a ‘kid’ problem, but this is my livelihood.”

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