Oakdale man faces charges of animal cruelty

Authorities have identified an Oakdale man they say "did willfully, unlawfully and maliciously subject a herd of cattle to needless suffering and unnecessary cruelty" in May and June.

The Stanislaus County district attorney's office has named Mark Allen Ozbirn, 48, as the owner of 40 head of cattle seized by Stanislaus County animal control officers in early June because they say the cattle were unhealthy and not receiving proper care.

The herd, and three dead cattle, were found June 5 on a ranch in the 4400 block of Kentucky Avenue in Riverbank. There was no food on the property, Stanislaus County detectives said, and the land was not fit for grazing.

Cruelty to animals is a felony and is punishable by jail or state prison time, said sheriff's deputy and spokesman Royjindar Singh.

Ozbirn was arraigned in mid-July. He faces five felony counts, including allegations that he abused two calves at Farmer's Livestock Auction Yard and a black Angus cow by failing to give them "proper food, drink and shelter."

He faces two felony counts on suspicion of abusing an animal in connection with deceased calves, one that was 1 month old and one that was found in a pasture, according to the criminal complaint.

Ozbirn also faces one misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals. He is scheduled to appear in court Friday. Ozbirn could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at eraguso@modbee.com or 578-2235.