Lee family finds lamb shot and killed near Sturgis | TSLN.com

Lee family finds lamb shot and killed near Sturgis

Carissa Lee of rural Sturgis, South Dakota, found this lamb shot dead near her home. Photo courtesy Carissa Lee

A bizarre incident left a Sturgis rancher shocked and saddened last Sunday.

Carissa Lee and her children were away from home for just two hours on Sunday, and when they returned, they discovered a dead lamb with a bullet wound.

Carissa Lee and her husband, Michael, have a flock of 80 commercial ewes north of Sturgis. They also have a custom haying business, and Michael is employed full time with the National Guard, while Carissa works for Tri-State Livestock News.

"I thought maybe he'd just gotten a leg caught or had quick pneumonia. I was a little bit shocked when I saw a spot of blood on him, and then I tipped him over and saw that it was a bullet hole," Lee said.

“There’s really no good answer except that there are bad people in this world. It’s hard enough to try to raise healthy livestock when you have predators and parasites and drought.” Carissa Lee, Sturgis rancher

She immediately called her neighbor, but he had been gone most of the day. He hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary earlier in the day. Lee then called the local sheriff's department and a deputy was at the house within minutes. Upon inspection, the officer was certain that the shot was intentional. "He just said there was no possible way that it was a stray bullet or it was an accident from somebody target shooting," said Lee. The location of the bullet wound supports his statement, as the bullet passed through the lamb's ribcage, just behind each shoulder.

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Moreover, the shooter likely trespassed on Lee's property to get a clear shot. Lee suspects he or she came up the long driveway, as a grove of trees would have prevented the individual from shooting from the road. The only other possible shot would have been at a distance of more than a half-mile. The dead lamb was, "about 75 yards from where my kids play. It was about 50 yards from where we were saddling horses that night," Lee said.

Lee's husband was away for annual training with the National Guard when the incident occurred. Their children, ages six, three and 20 months were with Carissa.

Lee said her oldest could not understand why someone would kill a healthy lamb. "There's really no good answer except that there are bad people in this world," Lee said. "It's hard enough to try to raise healthy livestock when you have predators and parasites and drought."

Lee now locks her doors and windows every night and is protected with firearms in the house. "It's really scary. It gives you chills," she said. "Makes you question humanity, but around the next corner there will be somebody that will do something good."

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