18 Utah County sheep killed by house dogs

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UTAH COUNTY — A group of dogs attacked and killed 18 sheep in Utah County this past weekend. But these aren't wild dogs, they're house dogs; and the owner of the sheep isn't happy about it.

Plenty of us have been upset at a neighbor's dog that barks constantly, but when the dog start affecting your livelihood, it takes it to a whole other level.

"No, there's nothing you can do," said sheep owner Deana Jepperson. "That's is our paycheck."

The Jeppersons have owned sheep pretty much their whole lives. But this past weekend, their livelihood was threatened when the dogs killed 18 of their sheep.

Those dogs belong to nearby homeowners.

"The owners need to step up and take responsibility for their animals," Jepperson said.

The Utah County Sheriff's Office tried to find the dogs' owners. They stopped at Marcy Smith's house after the sheep farmer said Smith's dogs were among the attacking animals.

"Sheriff's officers were in our garage," Smith said. "My dogs were kenneled up. They got a call saying those same dogs were up there killing sheep."

Smith said her dogs would never attack sheep. Then, the next day, her dog was shot.

"My dog had been shot, and her neck ripped open, and she was down bleeding out," Smith said.

She thinks the sheep owner is now shooting any dog that comes by, but the sheep owner says Smith's dog was attacking his sheep.

"A livestock owner has the right to protect his livestock," said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

Cannon just hopes this case doesn't rip the neighborhood apart. "Next to domestic violence cases, animal control cases can be some of the most emotional ones we get involved with," he said.

The sheep owners just want dog owners to keep their dogs from roaming free.

"It might be good at home, but once it gets out of home range you don't know what they're doing," Jepperson said.

The sheep owners said they lost about $20,000 worth of sheep in the attacks. No one has been charged with any crime yet, but deputies said they do know who two or three of the dogs' owners are. They still have some investigating to do to see if charges are warranted.


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Alex Cabrero


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