Four Texas juveniles charged with cruelty to animals after lamb found tortured, shot to death
TERRY COUNTY, Texas (KCBD) - WARNING: This story contains a graphic description of animal abuse that may be disturbing to some readers.
Four juveniles are in custody, charged with cruelty to animals and felony theft after a ewe from the Terry County Stock Show was found tortured and shot to death in a nearby cemetery.
The juveniles, 16 and under, are accused of breaking into the Terry County Show Barn on Friday night after 9:45 p.m. and taking the lamb, after letting all the animals out of their pens.
Michael Tackitt is a volunteer for the stock show with three children participating. This ewe belonged to his 6-year-old son, Daniel.
Tackitt believes this incident on Friday was an escalation of vandalism that started on Thursday night, when these teens are believed to have torn down flags and sprayed fire extinguisher dust all over the barn.
When a parent entered the Show Barn around 9:45 p.m. Friday night to check on their animals and feed, everything seemed normal, but about 10 minutes later, another parent came in and discovered doors wide open, with pigs, sheep, and goats roaming around.
Tackitt said it’s dangerous to have the animals loose “because pigs fight each other.”
They were able to round up the pigs and goats without incident, but they noticed one of the sheep was missing.
Tackitt went searching for it on Saturday morning, afraid that it had frozen to death or been attacked by dogs or coyotes. Tackitt found the ewe in the northwest corner of the cemetery, clearly the victim of intentional abuse.
Tackitt said the ewe had been shot multiple times with a BB gun, and had pellets under her skin. Her ears had been cut off and she had been shot multiple times with expanded copper slugs from a shotgun. Her jaw had been blown off and her lungs were blown out by a second shot to her chest. She was left in that spot overnight.
“People don’t realize how much value these animals have to us,” Tackitt said. “Hundreds of dollars in feed and supplements every month. Would have had dozens of babies that would have been sold to make money. A huge loss. Just a terrible thing to do.”
Tackitt expressed his outrage in a Facebook post on Saturday:
“Kids with shotguns and pistols did this. I am beyond horrified that this level of sadistic evil and danger is among my children,” Tackitt said. “Those of you that have raised show animals know the love and work that a kid puts into it. This was Daniel’s first year and this is what his work earned him. He loved his sheep so much, and it hurts me so much that this happened.”
Terry County Sheriff Timothy Click told Town Talk that the juveniles have been turned over to the Juvenile Probation Office. Their names will not be released to the public.
Tackitt thanked the Terry County Sheriff’s Office for their quick response, identifying the four suspects based on the weapons involved and on previous incidents.
Katy Jane Seaton breeds Dorper sheep in Meadow, Texas. They’re the breeders who leased Daniel this ewe for his project.
Katy said, “As far as sweet Daniel knows, this lamb went home. And she did, to be with the Lord.”
Katy sent her congratulations to all of this year’s winners, asking that we remember, “All the good kids in this world that do good things.”
UPDATE: There was a silver lining for the Tackitt family on Saturday night, as the community rallied to support them. Daniel’s brother Patrick brought in $10,000, the highest sale of the night, for his Dorper ewe, the twin of the one that was killed.
Patrick’s dad says they’ll be donating $2,500 to Brownfield FFA kids who didn’t get an animal in the sale. The rest will be going to a college fund for the boys.
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