On 2-28-14, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office received a report of possible animal neglect regarding a flock of sheep in the Heritage Ranch area. Deputies responded and began an investigation into the deaths of 25 sheep in the River View Estates area of Heritage Ranch. During the course of the investigation, deputies spoke with the owner of the sheep, a 53 year veteran of raising sheep.
He tends to a flock of 8,500 sheep. Of those, 700 sheep were grazing on about 3,000 acres of land in Heritage Ranch as part of a fire suppression program. The owner indicated that he always shears his sheep in February. Several days later, a major rainstorm hit the county, and as a result, several of the sheep became ill and 25 died. Hikers discovered the distressed sheep and contacted law enforcement.
The Sheriff's Office is conducting a thorough investigation with the full cooperation of the owner. The findings of the investigation will be turned over to the District Attorney's Office for consideration of any possible criminal neglect charges.