‘They were our family’: several dead animals thrown over hillside in Fayette County

FAYETTE COUNTY, Pa. — For weeks, it was a mystery in a small Fayette County town.

Grindstone Fire Department discovered several deceased farm animals dumped over a hillside after responding to a brush fire there.

Despite calls for help from the public, they could not find the owners — until now.

”They were our family. They were pets,” Thomas Steiner said.

Tom Steiner describes his two cows and billy goat as his family’s beloved pets.

”The calves we had were bought as bottle calves. With bottle calves, they either go for veal or they get raised for meat. We took them on as pets,” Steiner said.

Tom is an over-the-road truck driver, and paid someone to take care of the animals while he was away.

He came home from the road and found his cows dying from neglect.

”I took a walk up the hill to check on the animals and realized one of my calves was in the process of dying from not being fed or watered in the winter,” Steiner said.

Then, he noticed his billy goat was missing.

”It was a shock. The gate was open to the pen and I’m running around looking for my goat,” Steiner explained. He never knew his animals were dumped and discarded over a hillside near a water treatment plant until he came across a Facebook post from the Grindstone Fire Department.

The bodies of his cows were found next to his billy goat, who was decapitated.

Firefighters discovered the bodies of the animals after they were called out for a brush fire. The chief said the brush fire was intentionally set.

”I contacted the fire chief and got into contact with him, and we went out and checked to make sure, and they were in fact our animals,” Steiner said.

The Steiners are devastated to not only learn their animals were disposed of like this, but that they trusted someone to care for the animals they helped rescue.

”It was bad enough that he neglected them and they died under his care … to swallow that and deal with that, and now to have it come up again and see what somebody did with our animals, it’s just sickening,” Steiner said.

Right now, there are no charges against that former caretaker, but he’s no longer employed by the Steiners.

We are told state police in Belle Vernon are looking into the situation.