WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Since June, 5 animals have died at the hands of one dog at a school farm in West Valley City. Now, the state is stepping in to help local animal control workers catch the culprit.
At Roots Charter High School, the students have a vested interest in the garden and animals they tend to.
“Everything they do goes to production. The animals are used for meat. Vegetables are sold at Farmers Markets,” said Tyler Bastian, Roots Charter High School Director.
Students take out loans from the state to buy the animals with the intent of selling them to pay off the loan, but tragedy has overshadowed their plans.
“I cried so much when it happened,” said Kaedynze Wallace, Roots High student. Since June, a neighborhood dog has killed 2 alpaca’s, 2 goats, and 2 sheep.
“Just the other night, it severely injured a piglet, and we actually had to put that piglet down,” said Bastian.
West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow and Kerry W. Gibson with the Department of Natural Resources stopped by the farm to come up with a plan.
“It has a lot of places to go. Animal control has been out here a number of times. These are people who are experienced at tracking and trapping animals in the city, but it just isn’t working. It’s really difficult,” said Bigelow.
The state is now offering help – more manpower, and perhaps bigger traps.
“We have some unique abilities through our wildlife capabilities that we should be able to help in some ways,” said Gibson.
With each passing day, school leaders and students grow more concerned.
“It really needs to be removed from the area. It has gained a desire and the motivation to do harm,” said Bastian.
Although the animals have been killed, students must repay the loan. School leaders estimate the value of animals and property damage up to $5000.
The community has donated thousands of dollars to help the school buy new fencing, and eventually new animals to replace those who have been killed.