FORT WORTH, Texas -- It may look like sprawling ranch land, but for hundreds of animals, it's a refuge.
"We've hauled out hay, lots of trees and cover for them, and they really seem to be enjoying it," said Kimberly Meek, an investigator with the Humane Society of North Texas.
Kimberly Meek of the Humane Society of North Texas said lunchtime is close, and these longhorns know it.
"They are actually familiar with our trucks now, and when we approach, they come running. We don't have to corral them," said Cassie Lackey of the Humane Society of North Texas.
One by one, the skinny emaciated animals begin following us. It's all happening in a location the Humane Society has asked we not identify. It's hard to watch, especially for Meek.
"No animal should have to live like that, wondering if they are going to get enough food -- starving, especially on such a scale like this, there's no need for it," Meek said.
Each bite they take brings them closer to health and further from the state they were in when they were found. Last week Friday, the Hill County Sheriff Department seized 338 heads of cattle from a private owner -- an elderly woman named Leletia O'Malley. She has yet to respond to WFAA's attempts to contact her.
"The amount of deceased animals on scene, and the conditions of the live ones, it's a very, very difficult thing to see," Meek said.
While more than 300 lived, investigators said at least 20 of them were found dead on the property. There are also stories of survival. A three-year-old calf, too small to run with the heard, but safe and cared for, a full recovery could take a month or longer.
"A longhorn should be robust and have lots of muscle mass, and clearly, these guys are deficient in both," Lackey said.
Meanwhile, the rest of the cattle is adjusting to a new life that includes regular feeding and care. As for the future of the animals' owner, that will likely be determined by a criminal court judge.
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