INDIANA, Pa. (KDKA) — An man is facing more than 50 counts of animal cruelty after starving and neglected animals were found on his farm in Indiana County.
Veteran farmer Ken Black has seen a lot, but nothing like what he says he witnessed when 33-year-old Brian Lettie rented his barn to raise cattle.
“As far as knowing anything about anything in the farming industry, he knew absolutely nothing,” says Black.
Those sharp words come after state police charged Lettie with more than four dozen counts of animal cruelty.
“Literally, the animals didn’t have anything to eat,” says Black.
State police say Lettie’s cows eventually became so hungry they broke out of the barn and knocked down fences just to get to grazing pasture.
“They were out because they were hungry,” said Black.
One neighbor confronted Lettie, who, according to state troopers, then allegedly poisoned two of the man’s horses. One had to be put down.
In addition to the poisoning, troopers say Lettie failed to provide proper nutrition, water, veterinary care and sanitary shelter for the animals. At least 15 cows died as a result.
Black discovered decaying all over his land.
“I farmed all my life, and you put your animals first and yourself last,” said Black. “I don’t know what he did; he was just a horrible person.”
KDKA’s attempts to reach Lettie for comment proved unsuccessful. If convicted, he could pay up to $55,000 in fines.
Black says Lettie owes him more than $15,000. But he’s not holding his breath when it comes to squaring up with Lettie.
“You can’t take hair off toad,” says Black.
All of the charges, which are summaries and misdemeanors, are being mailed to Lettie. No word on when he’ll have a preliminary hearing.