HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. — Robert David Starkweather, 52, was found guilty of 12 felony counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty following a four-day trial.
In March 2018, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Agricultural Crimes Unit responded to the pasture after getting a report about a downed cow.
Deputies found 13 dead cows and 131 emaciated cows and calves at the scene.
Starkweather owned 144 cows and calves that he had in a pasture off Ft. Denaud Road in LaBelle.
Evidence showed Starkweather failed to provide adequate food, water, and medication to the animals. Further, he ignored signs, over a four-month period, that the cows were in distress and suffering from malnutrition.
The jury was presented photographs of every animal found on the property.
They deliberated for more than four hours before returning the guilty verdict for the 12 felony counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty.
Sentencing is scheduled for February 26 th.