Local News

Students Adopt 13 Seized Lambs

Posted March 29, 2007 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated March 29, 2007 6:19 p.m. EDT

— Students from a Catawba County high school on Thursday picked up 13 neglected lambs seized from an Apex man on Monday, while authorities continue to inspect other animals owned by the man.

Wake County animal control officers seized 77 sheep from the Apex residence of David Watts. Thirty of the animals were suffering from infections and other health problems that they had to be euthanized, authorities said.

Watts was charged Wednesday with 30 counts of animal cruelty in connection with the sheep that had to be put down. He has been released on a $12,000 bond.

A farmer adopted 35 of the seized sheep, and a group of Future Farmers of America students drove to Wake County Thursday to take 13 lambs back to Bandys High School in Catawba.

"The kids were crazy over the fact at how (the sheep) were treated," high school farm manager Chris Fulbright said.

A 3-day-old brown lamb, for example, is bigger than a 2-week-old black lamb.

"Their mommas weren't healthy enough to feed them," said Molly Goldston of Saving Grace Animals for Adoption. "In the end, I would expect they'll be happy but may or may not have the same life expectancy as your regular sheep."

"It really makes me mad that they would just leave animals like this. I mean, that's like your own child," student Claudia Johnson said.

Now that the "children" have a new home, Johnson and Fulbright said they see a bright future for the lambs.

"The way they look, I got a feeling you may see some of these (lambs) at the State Fair," Fulbright said.

"I really do have a feeling these are going to be really good, top-quality show (animals)," Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Lee County animal control officers plan to take a veterinarian to a farm Watts owns near Sanford to inspect more than 60 sheep, as well as goats and horses. Authorities said the sheep appear to be in bad shape, and Watts could face more animal cruelty charges, depending on the veterinarian's findings.

Animal control officers in Chatham County also want to work with Watts to care for dozens of sheep on a farm he owns near Moncure that have minor health problems.