Editor's note: We contacted the reporter for the Shelbyville, Tenn., Times-Gazette who has been writing about this, and he said the farmer in question did not appear to have a dairy operation. The cows appear to be beef cows. Regardless of whether they are beef cows or dairy cows, it is a horrible situation. Farmers everywhere need to convey to the public that they are taking good care of the animals. This kind of publicity hurts that effort.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Sheriff's deputies in Middle Tennessee are still counting dead cattle on a farm near Shelbyville, but the man accused in their suspected starvation says far fewer cows have died than officials say.
John Darrin Thomas of Wartrace was charged Friday with six counts of animal cruelty filed in Coffee County.
Sheriff Randall Boyce of neighboring Bedford County said Monday that Thomas had been released from jail after posting bail over $1 million.
County Correctional Officer Brandon Warren said Monday that Thomas made bond Friday afternoon after being booked on 101 counts of animal cruelty, three counts of allowing animals to run at large, two theft counts — one under $500 and one over $10,000 — two DUI counts and 101 counts of improperly disposing of animal carcasses.
Boyce said his officers were still finding cattle, both live and dead, and had not yet determined the final number of animal cruelty counts Thomas would face in Bedford County.
"We've picked up 250 live ones and close to 150 dead," Boyce said Monday. "We're about halfway through picking them up."
Asked why animals were starving on the farm, Boyce replied, "He just stopped feeding them, that's what it appears."
A judge allowed local authorities to put the cattle under the control of the Bedford County Humane Association.
Reached by telephone at his home Monday, Thomas said he knows of only 21 dead cattle and said deputies are counting bones of long-dead animals on 1,600 acres where his family has raised cattle since the 1960s.
He also said some of the cattle had been shot and that he has photographic evidence of it.
Thomas said there's more to the incident than is yet apparent.
"The truth's going to come out," Thomas said, adding that he sold his cattle to his father in November.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.