Putnam County investigation found 150 cattle starved to death, neighbor feared for the worst


PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — An animal cruelty investigation uncovered more than 150 cattle found starved to death in Putnam County. According to deputies, the animals were found in the Lake Hill Road area in Monterey.

“There was constant moo-ing and it went on into the night,” said Wendy Warren.

Warren has lived in the area since 2013, and said she knew something was wrong after she could hear the cattle day and night, describing the community as quiet.

“Being a cityfied person, I mean of course I googled, and that’s how I found out, oh yeah, there is something wrong,” said Warren.

She says after searching online to find out why cows would suddenly be making noise all night, Warren says, she learned they might be starving. Reaching out to a friend for help who works closely with law enforcement, she says officers drove past her home with bays of hay for the cattle. A couple of days later, a large animal cruelty investigation was underway, and shortly after she saw cattle trucks hauling some of the animals away.
“I was definitely shocked because I thought 87, well I thought there were 87, come to find out there’s more,” Warren explained.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, 150 cows were found dead. Initially, police were called to the property to investigate a cow being shot and killed.

“I mean I don’t know what type of situation the person was in, where they could just let their animals starve but they should have reached out for help. somebody would have helped them,” said Warren.

The months-long investigation started in February 2021. This week, 59-year-old Ricky Dake was arrested after being indicted on 14 counts of animal cruelty and one count of failure to dispose of an animal carcass.

Dake is being held on a $10,000 bond and is facing a Class A misdemeanor.

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