Gordon Tokumatsu, Sue Monroe
Animal Control officers rescued dozens of malnourished and abused animals from a Santa Clarita Valley homeowner on Tuesday who is believed to be a backyard butcher. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Santa Clarita.
From their secret compound in a remote corner of Santa Clarita, Jay Weiner and Ellie Laks first got wind of the case four years ago.
Slowly, animal-by-animal, they began buying those in the worst shape.
"They are underweight; they're malnourished; they have parasites," according to Ellie Laks, "The Gentle Barn"
Among the first they brought in, a calf, named Julian. He was nursing from his mother, who was so sick and so starved, she was literally dying.
The owner, they said, didn't seem to care.
"He sells the meat to other people," says Laks.
Laks and Weiner were dealing with an alleged "Backyard Butcher." That's a person who kills animals and slaughters them for personal consumption.
Animal Control and Health Department officials finally moved in Tuesday and arrested him.
Laks and Weiner run a facility called "The Gentle Barn" where animals like Julian are allowed to live on into old age, rescued after years of abuse.
Other animals pulled out of the alleged "butcher's" filthy cages is a goat with her right eye so infected that she's now blind.
And a badly neglected horse.
"She's several hundred pounds underweight," according to Laks. "She's filthy-dirty from head to toe."
Workers at The Gentle Barn, who have been rescuing animals a long time, call this one of the worst cases of animal abuse and cruelty they've ever seen.