A New York animal shelter manager has been arrested after she allegedly refused to return some lost cows to their owner.
Tracy Murphy of Asha’s Farm Sanctuary could face up to seven years in prison if convicted after a missing steer and heifer escaped from a nearby farm and ended up on her property.
NYPD says troopers visited the shelter in Niagara County, New York on July 25 to retrieve the animals and return them to the farm.
But when they got to the shelter, Mrs. Murphy allegedly wouldn’t return them to the farmer.
So troopers with a search warrant seized the animals and returned them to McKee Farms owner Scott Gregson and took Ms. Murphy into custody.
The 59-year-old appeared in court in shackles and pleaded not guilty to a charge of third-degree grand larceny. She was later released from the Niagara County Jail.
“I don’t know how they got there,” Mr Gregson said.
“My fence was secure, the electrics were on and the gates were all closed and there were no hoof prints or droppings so I don’t know how they got there.”
He says he initially called Ms Murphy and arranged for him to visit her and collect the animals. But he says when she refused to comply he called the state police.
“All I wanted was to get my cattle back. Apparently, I filed a complaint with the state police and they are pressing charges. I guess at this point it’s up to the courts,” he added.
Before her arrest, Ms. Murphy had offered to pay for the animals and keep them at the shelter.
“Where do you think a Sanctuary would leave animals behind for slaughter when they found their way here,” Murphy told WKBW. “We’re willing to waive any boundaries and we’re willing to give them top dollar for these animals.”