Thursday, February 2, 2017

Colorado: Denver police believe animals killed intentionally at nonprofit farm

COLORADO -- Eleven animals were killed late Saturday or early Sunday by stray dogs at the Urban Farm at Stapleton, the nonprofit said on its Facebook page Sunday.

The state veterinarian responded to the slaughter on Smith Road. A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

At a news conference, John White, Denver police spokesman, said it wasn’t clear how the two rabbits and nine sheep and goats died.

“It’s clear that the deaths are not natural, and the fact that two stray animals were found here has to be taken under consideration,” White said. “Clearly someone or something got into the pens.

However, all the dead animals were found inside their pens, and the cage in which the rabbits were found was cut open, said Harold Skramstad, a member of the Urban Farm board of directors.

The rabbits appeared to be decapitated.

Pens where sheep and goats were living are kept locked and could be opened only by humans. “They are constantly closed. We are dedicated to the animals’ safety,” said Felicia Diamond, another board member.

If dogs had killed the animals, there would be signs of chase and bodies strewn around the property, Skramstad said.

White said he didn’t know exactly what caused the deaths, but the Shotspotter system used by police to pinpoint gun shot locations didn’t record gunfire in the area.

An employee called police to report finding the carcasses shortly before 10 a.m., White said.

All of the animals were raised by young people taking part in a 4-H program for kids.

“The kids that participate in this program generally live in the Denver area” and normally don’t have access to farm animals, said Kenzie Krinkee, program associate, 4-H Youth Development.

Nine sheep from the farm remain at the National Western Stock Show. One of them was declared a grand champion at the stock show on Saturday, Diamond said. “This was our first grand champion. This should have been a day of celebration for our kids. It is cruelty beyond belief.”

(Denver Post - Jan 22, 2017)