After an extensive investigation, Los Angeles Animal Control officers served a search warrant Tuesday at a property in an unincorporated area of Canyon Country and arrested a man suspected of being a backyard butcher.
More than 50 animals were taken from the premises, according to Evelina Villa, spokesperson for the department. Most of the livestock – goats, sheep, cows and a horse, went to the Gentle Barn, a rescue group on Sierra Highway that rehabilitates farm animals.
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Many of the animals had been starved and abused, with animal control officials noting their condition as some of the worst they’d ever seen.
Villa said that other animals, including dogs, a cat and fowl – pigeons and hens – were taken to the Castaic Animal Shelter, where they are being cared for.
“We have some potential rescue groups lined up, so those animals are taken care of,” she added.
Because it is an ongoing investigation, Villa could not release the name of the person arrested. The suspect is considered a ‘backyard butcher,’ or someone who raises farm animals and butchers them for his own consumption, which on its own, is not illegal.
However, the filthy conditions and extreme abuse and neglect observed by the officers as well as evidence that meat from the slaughtered animals had been sold put the Canyon Country resident on the wrong side of the law.
The Gentle Barn is accepting donations to help care and feed the animals, which they hope to restore to good health. More information is available on their website at www.gentlebarn.org.