WARNING: This article contains details, images and video that are graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some. Discretion advised.
A woman from Lamont County, Alta. is raising alarm bells after finding about 15 dead sheep, including two lambs, on the side of the road near her home.
Toni-Michelle Benteau said her husband uses the road just north of Highway 16 several times a day and made the gruesome discovery on Friday, March 23.
They believe someone used a truck or larger vehicle to drive off the highway and discard the animals on the side of the road. The couple believes they were left there sometime between 11 p.m. Thursday and early Friday morning.
“We don’t know the cause. We’re not sure why they ended up here,” she said.
Benteau describes the incident as cruel and inhumane and wants to find out what happened and why.
“It was bad enough that they were dumped. It pained me to think they were disregarded,” she said.
“And now it’s become almost like a public nuisance because it’s a roadside buffet for wildlife and now we have to take into consideration that there’s kids and animals that live on this road.”
Watch below: About 15 dead sheep have been discovered on a rural property east of Edmonton. Kim Smith reports.
WARNING: This video contains graphic images.
Benteau told Global News she and was horrified by what they found — about 15 animals in “varying degrees of dismemberment,” some with their ear tags cut off, some with cuts and gashes — and they contacted Fort Saskatchewan RCMP on Friday. However, the carcasses were still on the roadside on Sunday.
That’s when she decided to post a video of the graphic scene on Facebook. As of Monday morning, the video had been viewed more than 17,000 times.
“There’s little tiny babies,” Benteau says on the video. “That’s… a still born. This one has a gash in its nose.”
“I called the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP to come out and do an investigation to find out where these animals belong, who they belong to and why they were dumped here. These animals were supposed to be removed so they didn’t cause disease.”
While some municipalities have special protocols in place to properly dispose of animal carcasses at landfills, the landfill in Lamont County-St. Michael does not accept livestock.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife said sheep are not considered wildlife and therefore this type of incident would not fall under their jurisdiction.
The video shows vehicle tracks in the snow coming from the highway to the side of the road where the animals were found.
“Their lives deserved better. If anyone has any information… please, please, please light up everybody. Make people change.”
Global News has reached out to the RCMP and the SPCA for more information on this incident. Fort Saskatchewan RCMP confirmed they are investigating.
On Tuesday, RCMP said a livestock investigator was on site.
“It’s disturbing,” Benteau said. “I don’t have an answer. I wish I did. It makes me sad.
“It’s a tiny precious little life and it’s just thrown there like it doesn’t matter.”
She’s also hoping rural neighbours will consider installing wildlife or motion cameras to keep track of any future incidents.
“It’s our community and we care… We want people to be accountable. We want people to be responsible.”
— With files from Global’s Kim Smith