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Safe Disposal

Kentucky area farmers find help with dead animal burial

A local company is helping Trimble, Oldham farmers



LA GRANGE, Ky. (August 2020) – Dead animal disposal programs vary from county to county in Kentucky. Both Oldham and Trimble counties use the same service to eliminate dead animals, Blueline Outdoor Services.
According to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service website, Kentucky has nearly 3 million cattle, swine and sheep statewide, plus approximately 2.1 million cats and dogs. If not disposed of safely, animal carcasses can potentially contaminate drinking water sources or spread diseases.
Dead animal removal services are “a very valuable service, since most farmers don’t have the equipment necessary to bury a large animal,” said Traci Missun, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent for Oldham County. “One-hundred and sixty Oldham County farmers utilized dead livestock removal services in 2019. Having this avenue of disposal helps ensure that livestock are disposed of properly, helping to prevent potential water pollution.”

Photo provided

Area Kentucky farmers have had to find ways to dispose of dead animals up until recently when some local counties entered into a contract with an Oldham County firm.


The former service used by Oldham County, Harmon Brothers, stopped picking up dead livestock in November 2019, she said. Harmon Brothers is based in Warsaw, Ky. Oldham County Fiscal Court signed a new contract with Blueline Outdoor Services on Dec. 17, 2019, said Polly Helton, Director of Oldham County Animal Control.
In an effort to locate another dead animal service, “we reached out to several hauling companies permitted in Oldham County and asked them to submit proposals. We then chose the one who best met the county’s needs.”
Oldham County Fiscal Court pays $150 per carcass and then charges the animal owner $35, said Helton, who was involved in the process. “The owner’s portion was scheduled to increase to $75 per carcass on July 1, 2020. The county covers the entire cost of deer.”
Fiscal Court applied for and received funding from Kentucky Division of Conservation and Oldham County Ag Development Council to help pay for this service, Missun said. “Our Ag Development Council has been funding this for several years because it is a valuable service to all livestock producers in the county.”
Helton, who is nationally certified in animal control management and cruelty investigation, said that animal owners are required to report the animal no more than 24 hours after its death. Based in Buckner, Ky., Blueline Outdoor Services will pick up the animal within 72 hours of being notified. Individuals are not to contact Blueline directly but rather contact Dispatch, which will in turn notify Blueline.
“All carcass removal requests must go through Dispatch,” said Helton. “This ensures that we are not being charged for pickups outside of Oldham County.”
These dead animals must be transported according to state law, which requires a covered vehicle having a bed or tank constructed so that no carcass drippings or seepings can escape the vehicle. There are specific methods approved by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for transporting any animal that is suspected to have died from a highly contagious disease, infection or communicable disease.
Blueline Outdoor Services will only pick up livestock and deer. If a small carcass such as a raccoon or rabbit needs to be removed, the homeowner must dispose of it himself in a garbage can or by burial. Another option is to bring the small carcass to the composting station behind the county animal shelter. There is no agency that picks up small dead animals.
“Proper disposal prevents transmission of diseases to other animals, including pets and wildlife. It also protects air, water and soil quality as well,” Helton said. “I believe this is a very valuable service to citizens of Oldham County, especially if an owner does not have the equipment to properly bury or haul the animal on their own. Proper disposal benefits everyone.”
Trimble County also uses Blueline Outdoor Services. Jonathan Turner, chairman of the Conservation Board, said “there was no other choice.” The conservation board, which oversees this service, would like to use composting as a method for dead animal removal, which “we have done a lot of research on over the years,” he said.
With no pickup or the ability to compost, “people will go back to methods used before, which was sinkholes or buzzards.” Turner said removal of dead animals is “very important, especially to keep the drinking water clean.”
He said about 110 animals are picked up annually. The conservation board contributes roughly $7,500, and the county adds to that. “It’s a free service to farmers.”

• To have an animal picked up in Oldham County, call Central Dispatch at (502) 222-0111. To have an animal picked up in Trimble County, call Trimble County Fiscal Court at (502) 255-7196.

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