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Sheriff’s Office releases timeline, statement on alleged animal abuse investigation

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The following is a news release from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.

On Thursday, May 19, Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies received a report of possible animal abuse at a farm located on Kathleen St. north of Idaho Falls operated by the Zamora family.

The nature of the reported activity indicated concerns over the welfare of livestock animals, conditions and the slaughter and sale of those animals.

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On Friday, May 20, Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies and investigators from the Idaho Department of Agriculture served a search warrant at the farm in question. During that time, personnel with the Idaho Dept. of Agriculture began evaluation and inspection of animals located on the farm to determine any violations of law or conditions that would require the seizure of animals.

Under Idaho Statute (Title 25-3501A), before any enforcement action or seizure of production animals – i.e. farm animals or livestock, an inspection by investigators from the Idaho Department of Agriculture must be completed.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, May 22, Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies responded with the Idaho Falls Fire Department to a fire at the Zamora farm. Crews battled the fire for several hours, which destroyed haystacks, animal feed, a tractor and an RV. Deputies are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire and no further information is available at this time.

On Wednesday, May 25, a Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputy was called to assist the previous owner of several sheep, sold approximately one month prior to the Zamora farm. Due to the investigation into the activities at the farm, the reporting parties were concerned about the sheep and wanted the Sheriff’s Office to assist in getting them back.

Because the reporting party was no longer the owner of the sheep, the deputy advised the animals could not forcefully be removed from the Zamora farm as they were now their property. A short while later, the deputy responded back to the farm after a report from the Zamora family that the reporting parties were there and would not leave.

At the request of the Zamora family, the deputy advised the reporting parties they did not wish to speak to them and wanted them to leave the property, which they did.

The investigation into the activities at the Zamora farm continues and results of the evaluation and inspection by the Idaho Department of Agriculture are pending. In the event results of the inspection recommend enforcement action or seizure of production animals at the Zamora farm, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office will assist in facilitating that action as outlined by Idaho law.

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