Rancher Arrested After Hundreds of Dead Cows Discovered on Properties
A rancher in Arcata, California, has been arrested after officers discovered hundreds of dead cows on his property, some of which had been heaped into a 10-foot pile near an excavator. Authorities initiated a five-month investigation into Raymond Frank Christie following multiple complaints regarding his treatment of the animals which spanned over several years.
After gaining entry with a search warrant, the bodies of 250 to 300 cows were uncovered. They are at Christie’s property near South G Street in Arcata. Samantha Karges, a spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, stated authorities were also “serving warrants at additional properties associated with Christie.” In total, four locations were searched.
The cattle that were discovered by officers to be still alive were extremely malnourished and confined to small areas, and dogs were also found on the property, being kept in confined spaces and unsanitary conditions. Sheriff’s deputies observed bones and carcasses of the livestock in or near state waterways, risking water source contamination, as well as in areas on the properties where cattle were being contained with little to no feed or grass. They also discovered that Christie had improperly disposed of waste.
Additional violations documented on Christie’s properties included moving dairy cattle without official ID tags, removal of Brucellosis tags, removal of state livestock back tags, bringing cattle into California without veterinary inspection certificates or ID tags, improper disposal, storage, or removal of solid waste, improper animal keeping, illegal development within a stream side management area, cannabis permit violations, improper/illegal disposal of biohazard waste and building code violations.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by multiple agencies, including Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, United States Bureau of Land Management, United States Department of Agriculture, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt County Code Enforcement, Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services Hazardous Materials Division, Humboldt County Animal Control and Humboldt County Drug Task Force.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife specifically uncovered the following violations on the ranches: Twenty-one violations of disposal of a carcass within 150 feet of a state waterway; seven violations of discharging sediment into state waterways; five violations of placement of refuse within 150 feet of a state waterway; one violation of abandoned motor vehicle in a state waterway; eight violations of substantial alteration of bed and banks of a stream without a permit; and three unpermitted stream crossings.
Humboldt County Animal Control cited five violations of dogs kept in unsanitary conditions, eight violations of dogs without water, five violations of inadequate space for dogs to move freely and four violations of primarily housing a dog on wire flooring.
Christie is facing four charges, including animal cruelty, causing an animal to be cruelly killed, failure to provide proper care to an animal and disposal of a carcass within 150 feet of a state waterway. The rancher was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility with bail set at $25,000. The agencies involved will be requesting additional charges as the investigation continues, and are asking for the help of Humboldt County residents.