SPCA awarded custody of animals

Van Zandt County – A judge has granted custody of more than 60 starving longhorn cattle to the SPCA in McKinney.

An attorney for the owner of the cattle said Tuesday's decision will be appealed.

Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace Ronnie Daniell says the animals were ``unreasonably deprived of food.''

The longhorns were seized Friday by deputies who found dozens of dead animals on the property in a rural portion of the county. Sheriff Pat Burnett Jr. says the investigation continues.

The judge ordered owner Jim Claire to pay court costs, including boarding the animals. Claire attorney says Prater Monning says the owner had entrusted care of the cattle to another man, believing the livestock were being properly fed. Cody Carter said he had been feeding the cattle at his own expense and that it had been a rough winter.

Meanwhile, a hearing is set for today in Fannin County to determine who will receive custody over the more than 60 mistreated dogs seized last week at Brenda Neely's Pet Place near Bonham.

An official with the SPCA says 20 dead animals were also found on the property.