State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout reminds Kentucky livestock producers that state law spells out how to properly dispose of dead animals.

“Animal losses are an unfortunate fact of life on the farm,” Dr. Stout said. “It’s also unfortunate that some producers fail to take action to dispose of their dead animals legally and prevent the carcasses from becoming a health hazard. My office gets more complaints on animal carcasses than on any other subject. The law is very clear on how and when to dispose of carcasses, and I hope producers will follow the law to protect their farms and be considerate of their neighbors.”

KRS 257.160 provides specific directions on disposing of animal carcasses by incineration, burial, proper disposal in a landfill and composting. The law also permits removal of a carcass by a licensed rendering establishment.

Dr. Stout said some counties still have services that pick up carcasses on the farm. Your county judge-executive’s office can advise you on the removal services available in your area.

State law says an animal owner shall dispose of a carcass within 48 hours after it is found unless it is preserved in cold storage.

The first violation of KRS 257.160 is punishable by a fine of $100-$500. Subsequent offenses are punishable by fines of $500-$1,000, up to 30 days in jail or both fines and jail time.

For more information on proper disposal of animal carcasses, contact the state veterinarian’s office at (502) 564-3956 or consult with your local officials.