NEWTON COUNTY - The Newton County Sheriff's Office has requested the names of the former employees seen in a video showing cruelty towards calves at Fair Oaks Farms. Investigators are working with the Newton County Prosecutors Office to file possible charges for criminal activity, according to a statement released by the office today (June 5).
The sheriff's office said they are also working to identify the person who witnessed the alleged crimes that did not "report the activity for some time." Animal Recovery Mission has stated they had someone working at the farm undercover for three months documenting what went on.
"We acknowledge the need for humane treatment of animals and the need to hold individuals that have gone beyond an acceptable farm management practice accountable for their actions," Sheriff Thomas VanVleet said in a statement.
In Fair Oak's initial response to the video on Tuesday (June 4), Fair Oaks founder Mike McCloskey said four of the people shown committing alleged abuses were Fair Oaks Farms employees and that three of the four employees had already been terminated prior to the release of the video. He said those three employees are responsible for a majority of the offenses seen.
The other person seen in the video was a third-party truck driver who was transporting calves, according to McCloskey.
Fair Oaks Farms also issues a new statement today (June 5) claiming "full responsibility" on the issue:
"At Fair Oaks Farms it is our commitment to be honest and transparent with you, the public. Many of you have reached out to express your disappointment, heartbreak, and anger regarding the videos released yesterday and we want you to know that we share those same feelings and take full responsibility. We are currently putting actions in place to ensure that this never happens again. We’ve tried diligently to respond to you but were unable to get to every person’s comments. As a result, we will be posting a message from our founders as soon as possible. Please know that we hear you and appreciate the outreach."
Sheriff VanVleet added that any suspected animal cruelty should be reported to them by calling (219) 474-5661 or the tip line at (219) 234-7014.