HILL COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Hill County deputies today found at least 17 dead cows on a 840-acre ranch near Waco.

“We started monitoring the herd (of about 350-375 cows for health issues) back in December. An animal control officer came out and saw that there wasn’t enough hay for the animals. So she entered into an agreement with a local cowboy to feed the animals… but that only last a couple weeks,” said Chief Rick White with the Hill County Sheriffs.

ABILENE, TX – JULY 26: Cattle are held in a pen prior to going up for sale at Abilene Livestock Auction July 26, 2011 in Abilene, Texas. A severe drought in the region has caused shortages of grass, hay and water forcing ranchers to thin their herds. The Abilene Livestock Auction has been selling at least two to three times the number of cattle each week compared to last year. The past nine months have been the driest in Texas since record keeping began in 1895, with 75% of the state classified as “exceptional drought”, the highest classification. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Only 5 percent of the herd is healthy, according to Chief White. Deputies seized 220 of the animals after receiving photos of the dead animals piled up.

They are moving all the cattle to a nearby auction house for parasite treatment.

Chief White didn’t comment on who’s responsible, however, the owner isn’t in custody but may face charges. 

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)