3 cited in Weld County animal abuse case involving calves

GREELEY, Colo. - Three people are charged with animal abuse after a video surfaced of calves being abused at a Weld County livestock operation.

The sheriff's office said they were given the video by members of the animal rights group Compassion Over Killing that it said contained "multiple accounts of alleged animal abuse occurring at the Quanah Cattle company in Kersey, Colo.

"Although the investigation is still ongoing, three suspects were cited on Thursday for a Class 1 misdemeanor charge of animal abuse," the sheriff's office said.

Larry Loma, 32, of Greeley; Ernesto Daniel Valenzuela-Alvarez, 34, of Eaton; and Tomas Cerda, 33, of Greeley, each face one misdemeanor charge, which could result in six to 18 months in jail, and a $500 to $5,000 fine.

Preliminary court dates for all three suspects have been set for January 21, 2014.

Sheriff’s detectives plan to speak with the person who filmed the abuses to determine if any additional suspects remain to be identified. The video said the person who took the video, a Compassion Over Killing investigator, worked for the company when the video was taken.

All three suspects in the case were believed to have been hired through a temporary agency, which the sheriff's office said it could not name due to the ongoing investigation.

Quanah is owned by J.D. Heiskell & Co., a privately owned feed company based in Tulare and with operations around the country. Heiskell is a joint venture partner in Quanah, which handles bull dairy calves.

In a prepared statement, JD Heiskell Holdings in Tulare said it is "dismayed" by images showing dairy calves being mistreated at the Quanah ranch, and vowed to cooperate with authorities investigating the alleged abuse.

"Both JD Heiskell and Quanah expect the proper and humane treatment of animals handled at the Quanah facility," Heiskell board chairman Scot Hillman said in the statement.

The company will strengthen training and supervision of employees, the statement said.

-- Calf abuse video posted by Compassion Over Killing (CAUTION: DISTURBING IMAGES)

Mobile Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_GXqIS9ie

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