A Wisconsin man was arrested this week on animal cruelty charges after police found four dead cows on his farm and other emaciated animals with bones jutting from their flanks.

Joshua Litza, 19, was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of intentionally failing to provide food to animals and four counts of failing to timely dispose of an animal carcass after officials say he neglected his father’s cattle that he was supposed to be tending to, The Wausau Daily Herald reported.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by the website, a Marathon County sheriff’s deputy was responding to a call of cattle blocking a roadway in the town of Norrie. Once there, the officer reportedly noticed that some of the cows were so thin that their bones were protruding.

He also discovered four carcasses of dead cows.

Authorities eventually found out that the animals belonged to Litza, who was supposed to be caring for them while his father, 57-year-old John Litza, was away.


The complaint stated that Litza told officers he fed the cows but an investigation of the farm did not show “any recent signs of feeding or watering.”

Litza is set to appear in court on April 8 and could serve up to seven and a half years in prison if convicted. The Wausau Daily Herald reported that Litza had been charged in September with three counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of exposing a child to harmful materials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.