OKEECHOBEE, Fla. (AP) — Sheriff's officials have opened a criminal investigation into the alleged mistreatment of cows at a Florida dairy farm.

Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen said during a news conference that he assigned an investigator to the case after viewing an undercover video that showed a worker kicking cows in the heads and beating them with metal rods.

The video released Thursday was shot by an investigator with Animal Recovery Mission, a Miami Beach-based animal cruelty group, who began working at Larson Dairy in August.

Publix supermarkets announced Thursday it has suspended milk deliveries from Larson, adding in a statement the Florida-based company is "shocked" by the treatment of cows.

In a statement, Jacob Larson said the employee has been fired and company officials are "appalled" by the actions in the video.

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