BUSTI- Lakewood-Busti Police have charged a Celoron man with animal cruelty for allegedly not caring for several cows on a farm he owns in the town of Busti.
James R. Lee, 64, of 110 Dunham Ave., Celoron, was charged with animal cruelty for allegedly failing to provide sustenance for several living cows and failing to dispose of several dead cows properly.
The charges were leveled against Lee Tuesday, following an investigation which began when officers were called to the farm Dec. 14.
64-year-old James R. Lee of Celoron was charged with animal cruelty for allegedly failing to care for 39 cows at this farm at 1166 Big Tree Road.
P-J photo by Robert Rizzuto
James R. Lee
''Several neighbors had filed complaints that he wasn't properly feeding the animals and we were also called to the farm back in the summer over a report of two dead animals,'' said Sgt. Investigator Paul Gustafson. ''He has been arrested previously on similar charges and this case involves more cows.''
He explained that Lee is a farmer by trade and through the course of the joint investigation with the SPCA, several laws were allegedly found to be violated.
Gustafson said that Lee failed to provide proper food, water and shelter for 32 cows and failed to properly dispose of seven dead cows.
He said that the law states they must be buried under three feet of dirt but Lee allegedly lined them up at the top of his field near the barn where they remained until Jan. 5.
''The SPCA had performed tests on the deceased cows and determine they had died of malnutrition,'' Gustafson said. ''At that time, the SPCA advised him to properly dispose of the animals and he failed to do so.''
Lee was arraigned in Busti Town Court on Tuesday and released to return to court on Feb. 4. He has been ordered by the court to properly care for the animals through the duration of the court proceedings, and SPCA investigators have the right to enter his property and check on the cows at any time to ensure compliance, Gustafson explained. He said if Lee is found to not be properly caring for the animals while the case is ongoing, they will be removed from the property.