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School in West Valley losing livestock due to feral dog

Roots Charter School student Jack Walpole works at the school farm in West City on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. The students take out loans to purchase farm animals that they raise and sell. A feral dog has attacked their livestock, injured and killed some animals. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

WEST VALLEY CITY – A feral dog has been causing some serious damage to livestock at a charter school located in West Valley City.

Roots Charter High School is a place for at-risk kids to learn real-world problems through farming. School officials say the animals are dying which is not only costly in terms of dollar figures, but for the students as well.

“When an animal dies, it greatly affects their educational experience,” school Director Taylor Bastian said.

Gage Forshee is in his second year at Roots Charter School and he says he loves working out in the farm when his school work is done.

“Every day I wake up and it’s like my motivation to come here,” Forshee said.

The dog is described as a an Akita-German shepherd mix. City officials say the dog may have belonged to a homeless man who has now passed away.

However, the school says the problem has only grown worst since June. It has already killed two goats, two alpaca, two sheep, and it also injured a piglet so badly it had to be put down.

Some animals the students own themselves and so as the attacks grew some started spending their nights protecting livestock and alerting animal control officers of the dog’s return.

The problem is the dog is so used to running around freely, authorities are having a hard time capturing the animal.

“They pull up and stop and the dog is off like a shot,” West Valley Mayor Ron Bigelow said.

The mayor says the city council will discuss the issue at its meeting Tuesday night.

The school has set up a GoFundMe account to help build a new a fence, help with costs of veterinary costs, and replace the animals that were in the students’ care.

Paul Nelson contributed to this report.