SHAWANO - A Shawano County man who allegedly left two dozen cattle to die was charged Monday.
Joseph Brunner, 50, is charged with neglecting cows on his farm on Pioneer Rd. in the town of Belle Plaine.
A criminal complaint shows deputies arrested Brunner on Friday after questioning him about dead animals found on his farm. A neighbor complained to authorities after noticing "a strong smell of rot" and "large flies."
Brunner sat silent in court Monday. He told authorities during questioning that the animals had been sick with pneumonia and wasting disease. The first began dying in November and the last died in early March.
Brunner told authorities, "when there were only a few animals left and that it was obvious that they were not going to live, (he) quit feeding them." He said he had last sought help from a veterinarian in 2005.
Shawano County deputies previously had contact with Brunner in 2009 in regards to a deceased cow in a field.
Brunner was released on a $10,000 signature bond Monday. He's been ordered by the court not to have direct care of animals, including pets. He must also dispose of the carcasses still remaining on his property within 72 hours.
Neither the Shawano County assistant district attorney nor Brunner's defense attorney would comment about the case. Neighbors also declined to go on camera. While some say they noticed a stench from the farm, others say nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
If convicted, Brunner faces up to three and a half years in prison and $10,000 in fines. His attorney said Brunner plans on cooperating with authorities.
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