Animals seized at Culver area farm

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A Culver man faces 114 neglect charges related to the condition of the animals, including charges for the deaths of 14.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Two live pigs, penned up with two dead pigs on property on Elbe Drive, were among 96 live animals recovered from the property by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in late April. The JCSO arrested the man renting the property for 114 counts of animal neglect. 
Nearly 100 neglected animals that were removed from a Culver area property in late April — along with the carcasses of 14 others — resulted in the arrest of Joshua Larkly, 40, of Culver last week.

The investigation into the animal neglect has an unusual start when four pigs were found running on Highway 361 on April 22. An Oregon State Police officer responded, and herded the pigs across the railroad tracks and into a farmer's corral, with approval from the farmer, according to Steve Keever, animal control deputy for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Joshua Larkly"On Monday (April 24), the farmer still had the pigs and was looking for an owner," said Keever, who located the property from which the pigs had escaped. "I went to the property, off Elbe Drive, and when I got there, no one was around."

However, Keever could see three different dead animals — two pigs and a goat — in the pens with the live animals. That evening, Keever was able to contact Larkly, who was renting the property with his brother, Guy Larkly, 44.

"He gave me permission to bring a vet out there," said Keever. "(The veterinarian) looked over the property and animals and said they're not doing well. Then we asked the Larklys to release the animals to us; Josh Larkly voluntarily gave up the animals to us."

With the assistance of volunteers from the Mustangs to the Rescue group, of Bend, and a veterinarian, they were able to round up and assess the animals over the next couple of days.

"There were 96 animals in total," said Keever. "At that time, there were 14 dead."

The animals included about 20 each of goats and pigs, 25 chickens, three cows, nine sheep, and numerous ducks, which proved difficult to catch. "They were in bad shape; they were really skinny, and there was no food or water in their pens," said Keever.

Mustangs to the Rescue brought two trailers and trucks and about 10 volunteers. "Basically, we had to load all these animals in and get an assessment of each animal as it was being loaded in," he said. "The following two days, we assessed more. They were taken to different locations, all over Central Oregon."

After an investigation, Joshua Larkly was arrested May 1 on 14 counts of first-degree animal neglect for the 14 dead animals, 86 counts of second-degree animal neglect, and 14 counts of placing an offensive substance in a field (dead animals). He was conditionally released the next day.

Pending a review by the District Attorney's Office, Keever said there may be felony charges added.

Keever expressed his gratitude for the Mustangs for the Rescue group. "They loaned us panels for pens; they loaned us fuel, time, trailers and trucks," he said. "We really appreciate them for doing all that, because we wouldn't have gotten it done without them."