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Davis Journal

Family seeking answers in shooting of pet sheep

Sep 09, 2021 02:18PM ● By Tom Haraldsen

Martha Felt tries to comfort her pet sheep Kimberly after the animal was wounded by a .22 caliber weapon in the family’s farmyard. Kimberly’s baby lambs look on. The sheep is currently being treated by veterinarians. Photo courtesy of Martha Felt.

FARMINGTON—Martha and Taylor Felt have nurtured 10 sheep on their small parcel of farmland in Farmington, and the friendliest was two-year-old Emmett. But sometime in mid-August, and the Felts believe it was probably between Aug. 11-13, someone shot Emmett at close range. The Felts were not aware of the injury until they found Emmett dead last week. 

The problem doesn’t end there. The Felts also have another sheep, Kimberly, who was shot and severely injured. Martha found her with a wound to her stomach, grazed by a bullet. As of Monday afternoon, she was alive her veterinarian gave her a “thumbs up sign, even as her two baby lambs have stayed by her side as much as they could,” Martha said. Kimberly will continue on medication and treatment and it will take three weeks for her wound to heal.

“We’ve learned that a sheep Emmett’s size has wool so thick that the wound from a small bullet, like from a .22, wouldn’t be seen as the body closes off the wound,” Martha said. “That’s why we didn’t see any blood on him until he finally collapsed from internal bleeding. Our neighbor remembers seeing Emmett in the field on a Sunday (Aug. 21) and he seemed ‘a bit off,’ the neighbor said. We’ve since learned he was probably shot a week or more before that.”

Felt said sheep have four stomachs, and a gunshot from a small caliber weapon like a .22 wouldn’t take down the animal immediately. But with a bullet lodged internally, the damage would metastasize over time. “That’s probably what happened with Emmett.”

She said Taylor and another neighbor both remember hearing what they thought were a pair of gunshots a week or more before Emmett’s death. Taylor was off from working a night shift on Aug. 11-13, when he heard the sounds of what could have been firecrackers. The Felts are assuming that’s when Emmett was shot, perhaps at the same time Kimberly was wounded as well.

“Our house faces the pasture and we think the gun was fired somewhere along Northridge Road,” she said. “It is a very dark stretch of the road and easy to hide. Emmett liked to walk that top fence line and was probably shot through the fence at close range.”

The Felts are also hoping their story will help bring awareness to a rash of livestock shootings that have taken place in Utah over the past few weeks and months.

“We learned today that in Leeds, a town by St. George, a young mini foal was shot and killed in the chest by a .22,” Martha said. “Beside being a felony, it is obviously animal cruelty and very tragic. We want these disturbed individuals found, and hope by talking about this, people can be made more aware and protective of their farm animals.”

Farmington Police officers have “been great to work with,” Martha said. “This is a third degree felony, and we’re offering a reward to the person who can help us capture the shooter.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Farmington Police Department at 801-451-5453.