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Prospect man convicted of animal neglect

A Prospect area man will be banned from having horses or cows for five years after the Jackson County Sheriff's Department seized more than a 100 animals suffering from neglect.

Douglas A. Shurtleff, 63, of the 44300 block of Highway 62 entered pleas of no contest Monday to four counts of second-degree animal neglect in Jackson County Circuit Court. By pleading no contest, he did not admit guilt but conceded the Jackson County District Attorney's Office likely had enough evidence to prove its case at trial.

Shurtleff will serve 18 months probation and will not be allowed to possess cattle or horses for five years, said Deputy District Attorney Marco Boccato.

"The focus of the case was not so much jail, but that Mr. Shurtleff not be able to possess animals for a substantial amount of time," Boccato said.

A co-defendant in the case, Rocky Sue Courtney, 87, of the 44300 block of Highway 62 has a pre-trial conference set for Nov. 16. She faces six counts of second-degree animal neglect.

The pair were unable to adequately care for the animals, Boccato said.

"The animals were suffering," he said.

On July 25 and 26, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department found 79 cows and 30 horses near Prospect and Jacksonville, according to court documents.

"Many of the cattle were severely underweight and in danger of dying," Boccato said, noting they lacked sufficient food, water and veterinary care.

The animals were eventually seized. A local rancher is caring for the cattle and the horses were taken in by a rescue facility, Boccato said.

He said Jackson County Sheriff's Department Deputies Noah Strohmeyer and Ian Lance were especially instrumental in investigating the case, serving a search warrant and aiding with the seizure of the animals.

"The deputies and community partners worked very hard for the care of the animals," Boccato said.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.