CHAFFEE, Mo. -- Cleanup of the dead hogs found rotting in a Scott County barn will begin this morning, Sheriff Rick Walter said Friday.
A company, who has requested that its name be withheld, has agreed to orchestrate the removal of the carcasses and has reached an agreement with the property owners, Walter said.
The animals were discovered last week. An exact cause of death is still unknown, though investigators believe that lack of food, water and proper ventilation may be to blame.
"I'm not a vet, but it appears to be possible suffocation, when you have that many in a confined area," Walter said.
The animals' waste released exremely strong ammonia fumes and likely caused the animals' asphyxiation, he said.
An exact number of how many dead hogs were found in the building remains unknown because coyotes and other scavengers had ravaged the remains by the time they were discovered.
"It's not like they're lying neatly in one place," Walter said.
He estimated the number was between 50 and 75 animals.
The hogs appeared to have died around February, Scott County investigator Capt. Gregg Ourth said.
After investigating for several days, officers learned that an Illinois man relinquished the farm to an Illinois bank.
The bank has agreed to pay for the property to be cleaned up.
The drains in the building will be unstopped, and lime will be spread over the ground where the carcasses were to prevent contamination, Walter said.
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