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ESSEX, VT -  Officials say a Vermont man unable to care for two dozen cows found starved to death on a farm has been cited on a charge of cruelty to animals.

Authorities say Earle Matthews, the 75-year-old owner of the farm in Essex, suffered an injury in January. They say his son, Jonathan Matthews, said a combination of financial issues; a long, severe winter; and problems with farm equipment made it difficult to take care of the cows.

The Vermont Department of Agriculture investigated. Jonathan Matthews was cited on the cruelty to animals charge. He is scheduled to be arraigned June 26.

A message left on May 31 at a listed phone number for Matthews was not immediately returned.

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