Alfred & Frances Morrison

Dead animal carcasses found on now abandoned property

Fallon, NV

 March, 2006

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.

Investigators walked 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 Valley News)

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.

Reference:

Lahontan Valley News