Deputies investigate more than 30 goats and sheep killed in Ohatchee

Calhoun County sheriff's deputies are investigating cases of animal cruelty after Ohatchee livestock owners reported more than 30 dead sheep and goats.

All of the incidents happened on Kirkseys Bend.{} One homeowner told investigators she lost 20 goats during four different attacks on her livestock.

Jerry Miller keeps sheep as a hobby.{} He has 65 to 85 at a time, but 11 died this week.

"We got down here and you could see little holes, like small caliber holes in the back of some of my lambs.{} I called the sheriff's deputies out here," Miller said.

A{}neighbor also reported two of his goats{}were killed in the pasture next to Miller's.

Sheriff Larry Amerson said investigators believe many of the animals were shot.

One woman told deputies she heard shots fired around 5:30 a.m. Amerson said the woman went outside after sunrise and saw some of her goats dead on the ground.

"They were in a pasture.{} They were no risk to anybody," Amerson said.

"They weren't bothering anybody, but apparently somebody came by during the night time hours and shot these animals."

Jerry Miller said since his sheep are a hobby, he doesn't make any money off of them.{} There is still a financial loss when he loses an animal, but Miller said the most difficult part for him is emotional.

"It's brand new babies.{} Five was within two weeks old," he said.

"It's a shame that they would go in and kill something that's that cute, that precious, that cannot defend for itself."

However, not all of the livestock was shot.{}{}A veterinarian determined a wild dog or coyote attacked at least a couple of the animals.{} Sheriff Amerson said the owner of any dogs that get out and attack someone's livestock can and will be prosecuted.

"We need community support," Amerson said.

"We need people to be aware that it's happening, and we need their input so we can again get leads on people that need to be checked out.{} If somebody is night hunting and they're riding those roads, the people in the community are probably seeing them."

Calhoun County deputies are trained to shoot coyotes that pose a threat to people or property.{} Amerson said the coyote population is on the rise, but there is no closed season for shooting of coyotes.

"People like to destroy them and get them out of the way," Amerson said.

"If it would be a safe place to make a shot, then we would encourage our deputies to do so."