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Authorities seize over 1,000 cattle, two arrested in alleged animal neglect, cruelty case

LINCOLN, Neb.  Two western Nebraska ranchers were arrested on numerous felony counts of alleged animal neglect and cruelty, after law enforcement authorities and brand inspectors found more than 150 dead cattle on a county ranch and seized more than 1,100 animals.

According to information from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office, father and son Larry, 75, and Matthew Mikoloyck, 41, were charged with 150 counts of animal cruelty and neglect resulting in death, which is a class IIIA felony for each offense. Both men were jailed and bonded out on 10% of $100,000 from the Lincoln County Detention Center.

Class IIIA felonies in Nebraska are punishable by up to three years in prison and nine to 18 months of post-release supervision.

In a news release, the Lincoln County Sheriff said, “Over the last several weeks, deputies continued to investigate the abuse of livestock on several different areas of rural Lincoln County.”

“During the investigation, information was gained that numerous cattle, horses and other livestock were not being taken cared for. Deputies, with the help of the Nebraska Brand Inspectors Office and Nebraska State Patrol aircraft, completed an investigative search warrant to inspect the livestock on at least five sections of property” operated by the Mikoloycks.

Investigators not only found more than 150 dead cattle on March 1, 2023, but also “observed numerous sick and dying cattle including bulls, cows and calves.”

Deputies seized and transported more than 1,000 bulls, cows and calves to a North Platte sale barn operated by North Platte Stockyards LLC where a licensed veterinarian inspected them.

According to a report from KRVN News, the men also were charged in nearby Logan County with six felony counts of abandoning and cruelly neglecting livestock, resulting in death, as well as 12 misdemeanor counts of cruelly mistreating an animal.

“Numerous cattle had to be put down on scene, as they were very sick, injured and dying,” the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies observed “very little substantial food sources” for the animals and no water to sustain most of the herd, according to the Lincoln County sheriff’s news release.

NTV News reported that on Jan. 23, 2023, a Logan County sheriff’s deputy was called to the area of Avenue 70 and Road 10 in the county after receiving a report of cattle on the roadway. Larry Mikoloyck was issued a citation for having eight head of cattle on the roadway.

NTV reports a deputy observed the cattle drinking from puddles and eating forage from alongside ditches and crop ground owned by other residents.

On March 2, deputies from Lincoln County with the help of Nebraska Brand Inspectors, served a warrant to seize all the cattle on properties operated by the Mikoloycks. Deputies were assisted by the Logan County, Thomas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Posse.

The investigation is ongoing, the sheriff said, and “additional charges for Larry and Matthew Mikoloyck will be forthcoming.”

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