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No criminal charges for Tyson in video of alleged animal neglect
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No criminal charges for Tyson in video of alleged animal neglect

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A video that sparked social media outrage fell short of demonstrating criminal activity, according to the Mitchell County Attorney's Office.

Attorney Mark Walk's office declined to file charges in relation to an alleged incident of animal neglect that was captured on a Twitter video at a Tyson hog buying station located in the county.

According to the Mitchell County Sheriff's report:

In August the county sheriff's office responded to a complaint call by a Dustin Michael Simko about 40-50 dead pigs located on Tyson's property at 3916 Hwy. 218. Sheriff's Deputy Gregg Halbach arrived on the scene and spoke with Simko and a rendering truck company driver named Roy who was also on the scene. The deputy discovered seven dead hogs that had been euthanized, according to the rendering truck driver. The deputy also saw several live hogs with missing tails that the truck driver said occurred when one hog bites another.

Deputy Halbach determined there was no wrongdoing at the scene and left.

Simko, 39, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, uploaded a video he made on his Twitter account of his visit to the facility, though he doesn't indicate why he was there in it. Simko later told police he stopped at the facility "to use the bathroom." Simko's Twitter avatar says "press" but doesn't indicate any media affiliation.

NOTE: This video contains scenes some might consider disturbing

His video was seen by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which then requested the sheriff's office investigate the incident and the company that transported the injured animals to the facility.

During further investigation, according to the sheriff's report, Halbach discovered that the hogs -- culls, or hogs that don't make market weight --had been transported in two trips to the station by a hog farmer from Minnesota, with two dead on arrival. The buyer, Chad Brigham of Tyson Foods, evaluated the other 139 hogs and euthanized an additional five after determining they would not survive further travel. 

Brigham and Tyson, which had been cooperating with the investigation, according to the report, said such euthanizations were common as most culls usually have underlying health issues. 

In a letter to PETA sent on Friday, Attorney Walk wrote that aside from the sheriff's investigation, the county also consulted a veterinarian who said that nothing that was done at the Tyson facility was out of the ordinary or constituted animal neglect.

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