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In October we told you about a rancher from Immokalee who is facing 120 counts of animal cruelty (including five felony counts) resulting from his abandonment of a herd of cows back in 2004. By the time concerned citizens contacted authorities, several cows had died of malnutrition. This week, the rancher (Michael Swails) was in court arguing that the charges should be dismissed because failure to feed animals is not an intentional act of cruelty. Thankfully, Judge Fred Hardt didn’t buy this silly argument and set the case for trial (Mr. Swails will be back in court on Dec. 11).

We will keep you updated on this important case. Too often, “farm animals” are not provided the protection they deserve in the courts.

If you haven’t written before, please write to Judge Hardt and thank him for taking this case seriously. Also, ask that if Mr. Swails is convicted, that he be sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed by law and be prohibited from ever owning “farm animals” again.

Contact:
Hon. Frederick R. Hardt, Circuit Judge
Collier County Gov. Complex
3301 Tamiami Trail E.
Naples, FL 34112
Fax: (239) 774-9654

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