Collier County man faces 144 counts of animal cruelty in LaBelle

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A 51-year-old man faces more than 100 counts of animal cruelty, the State Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday.

Robert David Starkweather, of Collier County, was arrested on March 23 and faces 131 counts of animal cruelty and 13 counts of improper disposing of dead animals, the State Attorney’s Office said.

The animals allegedly died in Starkweather’s care at a propoerty on Fort Denaud Road in LaBelle, the State Attorney’s Office said. The animals were said to have been starved with no access to food.

A total of 77 cows, 48 calves, and two donkeys were on the property after an anonymous tip called the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office said. 13 animals were found dead.

The animals have been seized from the property and moved to another location, the State Attorney’s Office said. One calf died and five had to be euthanized due to poor health conditions.

Starkweather will be arraigned at 9 a.m. on May 17.

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