SIDNEY — An investigation into a Sidney farmer who allegedly left dead livestock where they dropped on his property has been referred to the Attorney General’s Office for enforcement.

State rules require farmers to remove, compost or bury dead livestock, but animals found on Mark Gould’s property were left where they died, according to Matthew Randall, inspection supervisor for the department’s agricultural compliance program.

Gould admitted Thursday that there were dead animals on his property during the winter, but he said that they had been cleaned up and composted.

“Animals die, just like anywhere else,” he said, but declined to comment further.

Last summer, Gould was charged with animal trespassing after goats he owned repeatedly escaped onto Drummond Road and state property along Interstate 95.

In 2011, Gould was charged with animal trespassing after several of his cows were seen grazing along the interstate.

According to Randall, investigators first visited Gould’s property on March 21, responding to complaints of dead livestock visible at the farm.

Investigators observed the carcasses of three cattle and an undetermined number of chickens, Randall said. Two of the cattle were young, and the third was only partially exposed and investigators could not determine its age.

Investigators also were unable to determine a cause of death, he said.

Department staff have conducted three site inspections since the initial visit, the last on April 10, and the animals remained where they had been on the property, Randall said. “Nothing has changed since the first visit,” he said.

Gould was not present when staff conducted the visits, and inspectors have not been able to access the entire property, Randall said.

“We have limitations on how far we can go out without the owner present,” he said. Department staff have had telephone calls with Gould twice, he said.

The department has regulations on the proper methods of disposing animals, including where to locate compost pits and graves and what types of materials to use when composting animal carcasses.

Violators can be fined up to $500 a day and up to a total of $50,000, according to the regulations.

The agriculture department referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office for enforcement of a civil violation after the third site visit, Randall said. On Thursday, attorney general spokesman Timothy Feeley confirmed that the allegations had been referred to the office, but did not comment further.