Montana judge orders $15K restitution for starved cattle

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man who pleaded guilty to starving his cattle received a deferred, six-year jail sentence and was ordered to pay restitution of more than $15,000.

District Judge Elizabeth Best's sentence also prevents 57-year-old George Savoy from owning cows for six years, The Great Falls Tribune reports.

Savoy pleaded guilty to aggravated animal cruelty and waived his right to trial. The sentence was the result of a plea deal with the Cascade County Attorney’s Office.

The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office seized about 230 cows March 31 following reports of dead cattle on Savoy’s land 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Great Falls.

More than 100 cows died from lack of food and water.

The $15,571 in restitution, which Savoy has already paid, covers expenses the county incurred while caring for the animals after they were seized.

Savoy must also dispose of the dead cows and sell the surviving animals.

At the time the cattle were neglected, Savoy’s father was undergoing daily kidney dialysis, said his attorney, Jason Holden.