Roger Pederson, a cattle rancher from Skagit County, was remanded into custody on May 9th after being charged with six counts of first-degree animal cruelty and two associated misdemeanors. This followed the discovery of 70 dead cattle on his property in January 2018, which led to a years-long legal process marred by extensive court delays and criticism from animal-rights advocates.
In March of this year, Pederson entered an Alford plea to two charges of first-degree animal cruelty as part of a plea deal. He was subsequently sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $6,000 in fines for felony animal cruelty. This is not the first time that Pederson has faced allegations of animal cruelty; in 2005, 172 dead cattle were found on his property, creating a health hazard for his neighbors. While he was charged in that case, nothing ever came of it. It took the deaths of another 70 cattle to move the legal system to take action.
Now that Pederson has reported to authorities to serve his sentence, the years-long saga surrounding his animal cruelty charges has come to an end. While animal rights advocates are satisfied that he will serve jail time for his offenses, some feel that the punishment does not adequately match the severity of the crimes, and that Pederson should have been given a longer prison sentence and a larger fine.