Sheriff announces animal cruelty investigation, supports rancher
March 4, 2014
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla announced yesterday that the department is conducting a thorough investigation into allegations of animal cruelty by an area sheep rancher.
However, he also stated in the press release that Jean (JB) Jaureguy’s explanation that his sheep died not from animal neglect but from a mild winter storm was accurate. Cipolla noted that because the sheep were sheared several days before the storm, they died as a result of being exposed to the elements.
“The owner indicated that he always shears his sheep in February,” Cipolla wrote. “Several days later, a major rainstorm hit the county, and as a result, several of the sheep became ill and 25 died.”
On Friday, a hiker walking trails at Heritage Ranch discovered dozens of abnormally thin and weak sheep. In addition, there were dead sheep in ravines, in a creek and on hillsides. The hiker called the sheriff and reported possible animal cruelty.
Sheriff Commander Jim Taylor said that because of the drought, the condition of the animals was not unusual. He also noted that the thinness of the sheep may be normal for this type of animal.
“It’s possible for a person not familiar with livestock to view them and feel that they are in a weakened condition when in fact they might not be,” Commander Taylor told KSBY.
Nevertheless, several ranchers who raise sheep said the Jaureguy’s animals look malnourished and that they know no one who shears their sheep this time of year.
Cipolla said the findings of the investigation will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration of any possible criminal neglect charges.