Three minors have been charged in an animal cruelty case in southern Alberta after attacks on grazing sheep so severe that one ewe with a broken leg had to be put down.
About 300 sheep are being used to manage the grass as an environmentally friendly alternative to lawnmowers at the Strathmore Rodeo Grounds, about 50 kilometres east of Calgary.
The RCMP began investigating after a complaint on June 22 of trespassers harassing the flock on loan from local farmers for the green project, police said Monday.
Police said they found some sheep had been beaten with a blunt object. Several animals were injured. The ewe had to be euthanized after it suffered a broken leg.
People who live near the rodeo grounds reported seeing teenagers chasing the sheep with hockey sticks.
On Saturday, police charged one minor with injuring cattle and trespassing. Two other youths have also been charged with trespassing.
Police said they have identified other suspects and further charges may be possible.
In April, the House of Commons passed the first significant changes to Canada's animal cruelty laws in more than a century, raising the maximum penalty from six months imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine to five years and/or a $10,000 fine.