Alfred & Frances Morrison
animal carcasses found on now abandoned property
Churchill County Sheriff’s Department
and Churchill County Code Enforcement files have now been turned over to the
Churchill County District Attorney’s Office to be reviewed in an attempt to
determine if a collection of decomposing animals discovered at a Mission
Road residence died from
animal cruelty or other causes.
Sheriff Richard Ingram stated a Deputy investigating
the case found animal carcasses in different stages of decomposition. He found
three dead ducks, four rabbits, seven chickens and the partial skeletal remains
of a large animal that could have been a cow or horse.
Former residents, Alfred and Frances Morrison have been contacted as part of
the investigation. The couple stated that the animals died through the winter
and they had not removed their carcasses. Sheriff Ingram stated that at another place in the country where
they now keep animals, those animals appear fed, watered and healthy.
the entire 10 acres of the Mission Road property to ensure there were
no other animals. Officials have requested a review by the D.A.’s office to
determine if there is sufficient grounds for an animal abuse charge. At this
point it is difficult to determine whether the animals were abused or died
of natural causes.
Code Enforcement Officer
Rick Whimple stated that even if the animals died naturally,
their remains should have been removed from the land. Whimple opened a case
on the address in March when he received a report of two dead horses that
had been covered with a tarp and left to rot. The animals were later burned.
Because he could not see the animals from the road to confirm the report at
that time, he sent an Administrative Notice to the Morrison’s advising them to clean up trash on the property,
including any dead animals. Whimple stated the notice was ignored, prompting
him to issue a citation and a $100 fine against the Morrison’s in April alleging illegal dumping.
Whimple toured the
land with a Sheriff’s Deputy last month and discovered no attempts had been
made to clean up the property. He then turned his file over to the District
Attorney requesting a criminal summons be issued for misdemeanor illegal dumping.
(Photo courtesy of Lahontan
Alfred Morrison denied the animals were abused in any way. He stated
that three rabbits died last winter and a chicken was killed by a neighbor’s
dog. He suspects two horses were poisoned, stating that a local veterinarian
told him kidney and liver failure killed the horses, a condition linked to
rat poison. A third horse died of old age. He believed his ducks died from
poor water quality in the area. Morrison further stated that when he moved
out to the property in 2002, there were already many dead animals on the property.
Though he is disabled, he stated he was in the process of cleaning the place
up when he was evicted. Morrison stated he has goats, sheep, pigs
and a cow that are being kept at a friend’s house and they are fine.
The Code Enforcement
Officer does not believe there is a current health hazard from the dead animals
after receiving earlier complaints from neighbors about the odor while the
animals were decomposing after death. The horses were burned right to the
bone and chickens, ducks and rabbits were decomposed to the point where there
are no health issues. An animal that appeared to be a puppy was also found.
A Realtor for Berney
Realty stated that Mt. Shasta Memorial Park, Inc. recently foreclosed on the
property and that a licensed company had been hired to clear the property
so it can be sold.
Jim Chambers of Chambers Hauling is cleaning up the land. He
found one badly decomposed horse under a tarp, two others burned, at least
two pigs, a possible goat and multiple cages containing dead chickens and
rabbits. Chambers stated that the water is bad
on the property, but neighbors have horses and their animals are okay.
When the 1,700 sq. ft. home and
10 acres are presentable, it will be shown to buyers with a price tag of $150,000.
Lahontan Valley News