Both the Lubbock and the Hockley County Sheriff's Department say animal cruelty did play a role in the deaths of nearly 170 pigs. The pigs died under the care of Wade Franklin, and soon franklin will be served with two arrest warrants.
It's been more than a week since authorities made a disturbing discovery out in northeast Lubbock. On Sunday, December 29th, more than 100 dead pigs were found stacked in a barn east of the Lubbock International Airport, and on Tuesday there were dozens of carcasses rotting in the sun, and because of that, Wade Franklin may go to jail.
Authorities first found 130 dead pigs at a Lubbock County farm. Then, another 40 pigs were discovered dead on a Levelland farm also being leased by Franklin. Investigators say the owner, 72 year-old Willis Scott, hired Franklin to look after the animals. Franklin says the pigs got sick and died from an infectious respiratory illness that spread quickly. But, the State Animal Health Inspector believes the animals had starved.
Franklin declined to comment on camera, but has denied mistreating the animals. Officials in both counties disagree. Franklin now faces a class a misdemeanor for cruelty to animals in Hockley and Lubbock Counties.
With charges in both counties, Franklin could spend a combined two years in jail and pay a total of $8,000 in fines. In the meantime, Lubbock County investigators say Franklin has volunteered to clean up this mess and bury the pigs found in Lubbock County. Franklin has told authorities once his arrest warrant becomes active, he will turn himself in.