Sheriff: Dozens of cattle die on Iowa farm after intentional poisoning


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ALVORD, Iowa — An intentional poisoning of nearly 100 cattle on one family’s farm was under investigation Friday. The Lyon County, Iowa sheriff’s department said dozens of cattle have died on the farm since Tuesday.

According to a report on, test results from the Iowa state lab confirm the dead cattle had extremely high levels of lead.

“At this point this is a criminal investigation, it does look like it was done willfully by somebody,” Lyon County Sheriff Stewart VanderStoep said.

Investigators said someone threw a tractor battery inside Joel Moser’s feeder wagon. “It mixed and mixed that battery until it busted up and spread out through the whole batch of feed,” Moser said in the report.

He said about 40 of his cattle had died by Friday morning. He said the rest of his 100 animals are sick and dying and they likely won’t make it through the weekend. He said there’s nothing they can do to save them.

The cattle would have sold for tens of thousands of dollars later this fall. So it’s a big financial loss for him and his family.

But it’s an emotional loss as well.

“They’re sitting there dying in front of me,” Moser said. “It takes four hours for them to die, it doesn’t get much worse than that. I realize it isn’t a human being, my children and my wife are fine, but this is just unbelievable, it’s hard to watch,” he said in the report.

The sheriff warned other farmers in the area to be extra cautious. Investigators do not have a suspect in the case.

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