Local News

Man Charged With Animal Cruelty After Sheep Seized

Posted March 28, 2007

— The owner of dozens of neglected sheep seized from an Apex home got his bond reduced in a brief court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

David Watts was arrested Tuesday night on 30 counts of animal cruelty after 30 of his sheep had to be euthanized because they were found to be severely ill. If convicted, Watts faces up to 45 days in jail on each count.

Animal control officers removed 47 other sheep from the home Monday when they responded to a complaint of sheep running loose in a nearby cemetery.

Numerous sheep carcasses were found on the property Monday, as were skeletal remains of other animals, said Dr. Kelli Ferris, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

The surviving animals suffered from severely infected legs and abscesses on their abdomens, which came from dragging themselves on the ground to avoid putting weight on their legs, Ferris said.

"Dave has cared for animals for a long time," said Watts' attorney, Josh Hansen. "He was probably overwhelmed with the spring litter of lambs. He couldn't keep up with some of the routine care for the entire herd."

Chatham County animal control officers sent a veterinarian Wednesday to a farm Watts owns near Moncure to inspect animals there. The veterinarian determined some of the 60 or so sheep at the farm have foot problems, although they aren't in as bad condition as the Apex sheep, officials said.

Animal control officials said they want to meet with Watts to establish a treatment regimen for the sheep so the problems don't worsen.

Watts is being held in the Wake County Jail on $12,000 bond. His original bond had been set at $30,000.


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  • autryvillepimp09 Apr 4, 2007

    im wondering who the sheep are going to ive got goats sheep pigs chickens rabbits ducks and all kinds of pets im on an online school program and my pets keep me company and i would be more than happy to take some of the sheep i would like to know if they are going for adoption

  • kimnc Mar 29, 2007

    I know this man too. He is a very lazy man that has no repect for life. I' ve seen him leave animals in the sweltering heat and freezing cold with no water or food for days. He has been raising sheep for a decade and has never ever taken care of them. He has gone through so many dogs and cats I lost track. Nice is easy...even mass murders can be nice!

  • cntry girl85 Mar 28, 2007

    good one I can tell you they have.

  • luvmypets99 Mar 28, 2007

    Note to 'Jesus loves you': It may be true that Mr. Watts is kind but from the sound of it, you may be too close to the subject. I admire your willingness to forgive (and I do not condone the tasteless postings here), but the lastest video makes me shake my head, curious how anyone thinks the news outlets are tainting the story. His attorney says he was overwhelmed by the number of spring sheep. But if you really look at the condition of those poor sheep, it is possible Mr. Watts suffers from some mental instability. Most people know when things have gotten out of control and they would seek help or they would sell off the sheep. My father is buried in the cemetery next to Mr. Watts' residence and I have made frequent visits there over the years. I can tell you nothing in the news stories have been exaggerated.

  • cntry girl85 Mar 28, 2007

    I know this man and he is very kind. He would always do everything in his ability to save a sick sheep. He probably got in over his head. Maybe you shouldnt believe everything on the news. It is usually a tainted version of the story. And by the way Rev. RB shouldnt we try to figure out the real facts instead of being so quick to judge?

  • bentblue Mar 28, 2007

    never mind, i'm an idiot... looked at the video again, those are indeed sheep... where the hell have I been, thought all sheep were either white...

  • bentblue Mar 28, 2007

    if you look at the pictures those are not sheep... Those are goats. Saw the news clip at noon today and they said goats, not sheep, were found to be abused on the farm... c'mon people sheep are the cute little white wooly animals you always see pictured with jesus... how in the world could everyone miss that those aren't sheep!

  • cyborg_t22 Mar 28, 2007

    Animal Buggery I tell ya!, Animal Buggery!!!!

  • clancy Mar 28, 2007

    This man, who I have met, is a nut. He is not fit to care for any animal as he obviously has a mental illness. If he is allowed to keep any of his animals and they die, all the officials involved should be held accountable. When I talked to him and asked him to get one of the sheep to stand up and it could not, he brought it to the fence and said how cute it was and how much he loved it. My sister and I were disgusted by the sores on it and the look of pain in it's eyes. For him to be proud of what he has done is a clear sign of mental illness and it is not due to the sheep getting out of hand. It is due to him allowing it to get out of hand. This includes the police and animal control. He may not have the mentality to help himself, but the officials have an obligation to protect the sheep from him. Dead carcasses. Hello? Doesn't that tell them something.

  • IzzMad2016 Mar 28, 2007

    spiritwarriorwoman : Sheesh, simmer down. I don't think anyone really thinks it's ever OK to mistreat animals. I agree with you that anyone who would mistreat an innocent animal would very likely mistreat a human being. And of course an animal mother loves her offspring just like we humans love ours but my perspective is that children are our future, not furry beings. I'm just being realistic, no callous or uncaring about animals.