Kansas man charged with animal cruelty for neglecting more than 50 animals

Local News

MILTONVALE (KSNT) — A Kansas man, Kevin Vesterberg, is being charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty after more than 50 animals were found neglected or dead on his property.

Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the group that discovered the case, which resulted in the start of an investigation launched by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

“Our lead investigator was investigating a potential puppy mill in Ottawa County when she came across this horrendous livestock abuse case,” Debbie Miller, the Kansas Director of CAPS, said.

For the CAPS program, the word horrendous is an understatement.

“This is one of the worst cruelty cases she has ever witnessed,” Miller said.

Vesterberg was in charge of taking care of these animals that he used for breeding to make money, according to the lead deputy on the case. When the deputy responded to the property in late May he found the neglected animals.

There was a wide variety of on the property, like sheep, goats and rabbits. The animals that were still alive had everything from empty water troughs to oozing eyes and hooves that were over a foot long. It is unclear how many remains were found and how many animals are still on the property. There hasn’t been much movement on the case since the local county attorney, Richard Buck, charged Vesterberg with the 10 counts.

On a Twitter account, which has now been deleted, Buck tweeted about the case on May 28.

“Ah the life of a rural prosecutor, I just directed a deputy sheriff to take mug shots of goats… that’s intentionally plural,” the tweet said.

Buck wouldn’t agree to talk with KSNT News on camera but responded in a voicemail.

“We have deputies periodically checking in on the status of the animals,” Buck said.

The lead deputy said the majority of the animals have found new homes and only a handful remain, but CAPS is hearing something else.

“We were told they are still out there,” Miller said.

They are trying to rescue any remaining animals because Vesterberg is still in charge of their care at the moment. They are hoping to get a judge to grant them access to take over the care of the animals so they can get the remaining ones to a sanctuary.

“The obvious goals are to get the animals the care they need and to hopefully put a spotlight on animal cruelty in Kansas,” Miller said.

CAPS alleges a judge granted them access to take over the animals, then at the last minute that decision changed. Now Vesterberg’s next court date is set for mid-August.

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