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Utah County deputies caring for mistreated, forfeited livestock

Posted at 8:17 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 00:09:23-04

UTAH COUNTY — The Utah County Sheriff's Office has a parcel of land that serves as the "livestock yard" for animals that are either seized due to an investigation (such as animal cruelty) or have been forfeited by their owner.

“Bigger animals — your goats, horses, cows, pigs — they all come here to the livestock yard," said Deputy Owen Leatham as he walked around the livestock yard preparing to feed the animals. “Right now is actually real busy, probably because of the cost of hay and things going up. Usually, we’re not too busy; we maybe have one or two animals.”

Deputy Leatham and another deputy handle the duties associated with taking care of the livestock that temporarily call the "livestock yard" their home.

“I get to start my day taking care of the animals come here for about an hour… Feed, water, brush them, take care of them, so I enjoy it. It’s a really good gig. I like it," said Deputy Leatham, who works on the USCO Animal Enforcement Division.

As of Tuesday, two horses, six cows (including five calves) and three goats were being fed and cared for by UCSO. The horses were forfeited by their owner who no longer could take care of them. They will be auctioned off beginning Wednesday. Auction proceeds will help pay for equipment and supplies used on the yard, but will also go back into the Utah County general fund.

The cows were seized by UCSO on Aug. 16 from a property west of Spanish Fork, where the owner is currently involved in an investigation pertaining to animal cruelty.

READ: Utah County officials investigating third case of animal cruelty involving same man

The goats were transferred to the livestock yard by other departments who found them loose or wandering. Since many of the animals in the yard are malnourished, the goal is to heal the livestock and give them a new home.

“It warms my heart — that’s the easiest way to put it," said Deputy Leatham, who has been working in his current role for the past six months. "I was talking to the other deputy with me that does this, and we were talking about how much the cows and the horses have come along and that satisfaction of seeing those get help and not dying and going to good homes.”