“How You Could Let Cattle Starve Is Beyond Me” Judge Orders Probation In Animal Cruelty Case

An Anselmo man accused of allowing dozens of cattle to starve to death was sentenced to probation in Custer County District Court on Thursday, April 14.

Alan Jacquot, 51 of Anselmo, appeared to be sentenced on a reduced charge of abandonment/cruel neglect of livestock (Class I Misdemeanor) after a plea deal resulted in the dismissal of nine felony charges of animal cruelty resulting in injury or death.

During arguments, Custer County Attorney Steve Bowers told the court it is very easy to read the pre-sentence report where Jacquot blamed the attorney’s office, the bank, the sheriff’s office, but never himself, and get mad. Bowers said he felt initially angry reading the report, but said that the purpose of probation is to change the mindset of someone like this.

He remarked that probation is a place to change the way you think and putting Jacquot in prison might feel good initially, but it will likely not change anything and he will continue to not take responsibility. Before requesting probation, Bowers concluded that the best way to make sure we are not back in court, again and again, is to change Jacquot’s mode of thinking.

Jacquot’s defense attorney, Terry Barber, echoed Bowers’ statements and said he believed the plea agreement was reasonable. He also said incarceration is not in the best interest of anyone including the community.

Prior to handing down the sentence, Judge Mark Kozisek stated the entire ordeal was a sad situation. He told Jacquot it was disheartening that a man who had been raised in agriculture could allow cattle to starve.

“This livestock depended on your care and to withhold it is cruel,” said Judge Kozisek.

Judge Kozisek said the first reaction is to put him in jail, but agreed with the attornies it would not be useful. The judge sentenced Jacquot to two years of probation and fined him $1,000. With the sentence, Jacquot will not be able to own any livestock for the duration of probation.

Along with the sentence, Jacquot was ordered to pay restitution to Custer County for the care of the cattle when they were taken from the property in the amount of $98,511.77. When the charges were first filed in 2020, Custer County seized possession of the cattle for their own well-being and paid to have them fed and cared for at area feedlots. In a February 2021 Custer County Board of Supervisors meeting, Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond told the board there were 241 cattle that were being fed at $670 per day.