JUPITER FARMS, Fla. -- Neglected cattle have been removed from an 18-acre property in the 18000 block of 137th Trail North in Jupiter Farms, the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control Division said on Friday.
The 23 animals did not have access to water or food and were taken to an Animal Care and Control shelter in the 7100 block of Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach for evaluation and treatment, David Walesky, a captain at Animal Care and Control said.
"There were no signs that they were being fed. They were left to graze on the naturally-occurring vegetation on the property, which lacks nutrients to support 23 animals," Walesky said. "Many of the troughs that were there were full of spider webs, dirt and debris."
The property owner, identified by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office as Womesh Sahadeo, may face as many as 23 animal cruelty charges.
Investigators said they first raised concerns about the care of animals on his property in 1998.
"We have some history there with trying to force this individual to feed [and] provide proper care to his animals. We've met some resentment [and] some push back," Walesky said. "When we don't get forward progress through our educational measures, then you kind of push our hand and force us to view this as a criminal case."
Sahadeo surrendered the cattle to investigators on Tuesday.
"I think a lot of the motive in this case was, you know, financial incentives through tax breaks," Walesky said. "I've been here 19 years. We've had cows come in. We've had a few that we've seized from people for being skinny. But, I don't recall 23 cows coming in from one location."
Walesky said the cows consume 350 pounds of coastal hay and 50 pounds of grain daily.
The public has been asked to donate grain and hay -- and, make financial contributions -- to help care for the cows until they are taken to an animal refuge in northern Florida.
Donations can be delivered directly to Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control during regular business hours.
Palm Beach Animal Care and Control can be reached by telephone at (561) 233-1251.