A Colorado woman who went undercover to expose abuse to cattle on a ranch has been charged with animal cruelty on a technicality.
Taylor Radig, an animal rights activist associated with the group Compassion Over Killing, filmed alleged cattle abuse at the Quanah Cattle Company, where she worked this summer. She went to the sheriff with the footage after she stopped working there.
On Friday, Radig was arrested on animal cruelty charges for failing to report the alleged abuse "in a timely manner." According to ABC 7 Denver, that's a violation of state law.
“Radig’s failure to report the alleged abuse of the animals in a timely manner adheres to the definition of acting with negligence and substantiates the charges Animal Cruelty,” Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said in a statement.
But officials from the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that hired Radig to go undercover think that the charges smell worse than a load of cow dung.
Erica Meier, the executive director of Compassion Over Killing, told the Coloradoan that the charges against Radig are “unsupported by the law,” and a “shoot-the-messenger strategy aimed at detracting attention away from the crimes of those who actually abused animals.”
“The Weld County Sheriff’s Office has chosen to retaliate against the individual who witnessed, documented and reported the callous mistreatment of newborn calves,” Meier said in an email to the newspaper. “Merely witnessing others abusing animals is not a crime, and our investigator (Radig) was working cooperatively with local authorities on this case prior to this baseless accusation.”
Three other suspects have been charged in connection with the animal cruelty case.
In a statement, the ranch's parent company said it was is "dismayed" by images showing dairy calves being mistreated and is cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation.