Seizure of cattle by humane society to be contested by Goliad county judge, area farmers

Goliad Cattle

GOLIAD, Texas – One hundred and thirty-eight cattle were transported from Goliad County by the Houston Humane Society last week and on the second day of the seizure, the Goliad County judge attempted to intervene. The cattle were seized after it was observed that the cattle were in poor condition by Goliad County constables.

One of the three owners of the cattle recently passed away and the cattle were seized before his will could be probated, a hearing is scheduled at 8 a.m. Thursday, June 3 at the Goliad County commissioners courtroom to discuss the permanent disposition of the livestock.

Randy Farmer, chief investigator with the Houston Humane Society said while seizing the underfed cattle the Goliad County Judge Mike Bennett showed up with a group of local landowners.

“On the second day the county judge showed up on property claiming he was going to reverse the seizure warrant,” Farmers said. “These animals are used for collateral for a lien that the bank owns, and the banker claims that these were her animals as well. He’s added talking to area ranchers and trying to intimidate the JP [Justice of the Peace] judge in reversing this seizure warrant.”

The average body condition score for the animals was at a 2.2 on a scale where 5 is ideal and 9 is obese. Acreage per cattle ratio was also not adequate, Farmer said. Ideally, there are 15 to 17 acres for each cow.

Farmer said he’s concerned about the county judge’s motives for attempting to reverse the warrant.

“This will be the first time in almost 13 years that a county judge has actually showed up at a property and expressed how he was going to shut things down,” Farmer said.

The Houston Humane Society chief investigator said the society is not in Goliad County to seize all livestock, they just want to make sure farmers and ranchers are not neglecting their responsibility for their animals.

“My job is actually to come down here and help, we attempted to help the cattle before but it just wasn’t getting through so we had to seize them,” Farmer said.

As long as cattle ranchers are feeding their animals and providing proper care, they have nothing to worry about, said Farmer.

“Otherwise you will see me on your property,” Farmer said.

We spoke to a ranch owner in the area who says the owner who died, Darrell Franke, was known as a hay supplier in the area, so the poor condition of these cattle is inexcusable despite the recent winter storms.