HILL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) Deputies and cowboys rounded up stragglers from a neglected cattle herd Monday in Hill County after seizing hundreds of longhorns and crossbreeds last week.
Hill County deputies, assisted by a dozen cowboys, seized more 350 longhorns and crossbred cattle Friday from the 800-acre rural property at FM 933 and County Line Road south of Aquilla.
They found 17 cows dead and veterinarians had to euthanize another three.
Over the weekend, seven more cows died of exposure as a cold front pushed into Central Texas.
Authorities said Monday they weren’t expecting to find close to as many cattle as they seized.
"When we served the seizure warrant Friday, we really only knew of 100 to 125 cows on the land,” Chief Deputy Rick White said Monday.
“We were shocked to find 350. Many of the cows weren’t visible from the road on back pastures."
The cattle were moved to large farms and ranches, primarily in Tarrant and Johnson Counties, White said.
A hearing has been set for Friday in a Hill County courtroom to determine whether the seized animals will be returned to the owner.
"There's no way we expect those cows to be given back," White said.
The animals are legally in custody of the court, but the Humane Society of North Texas coordinated the effort to move them all to farms and ranches in North Texas with whose owners the organization has agreements.
If they’re not returned to the owner, which authorities say is unlikely, and the owner doesn’t appeal, then they’ll be available for adoption, a Humane Society official said.
The Human Society of North Texas posted a fundraising request to their Facebook page Saturday, saying they need the funds to help feed the cows.
HSNT also said the cows are not available for adoption and are not in need of foster care.