DENVER -- Police are dealing with a mystery after the discovery of nearly a dozen animals found slaughtered in Stapleton on Sunday morning.
A volunteer at Urban Farm at Stapleton found the carcasses of the animals about 10 a.m.
"We have terrible news," the nonprofit group said on Facebook. "Last night, some person or persons entered our property and caused the death of our goats, sheep and rabbits. We are working with the Denver police to determine who perpetrated this crime. We are heartbroken for our children who loved and cared for these animals and we are heartbroken for the loss of these innocent animals."
The Denver Police Department is investigating who or what could have killed the animals at 10200 E. Smith Road.
Nearly 60 farm animals live on the 25-acre property where children learn how to raise them from birth.
“These are absolutely defenseless animals,” said Harold Skramstad, the nonprofit’s board president.
Crime scene tape blocked off the property after the grisly discovery.
“What we found are nine carcasses, several are sheep, several are goats,” Denver police spokesman Jon White said.
He said two rabbits were also “severely mangled.” He confirmed they were decapitated.
“How could something like this happen? Who could do something like this?” Skramstad said.
Police said it’s too soon to tell the cause of death, but they’re looking at whether a person or animals killed the livestock after finding two stray dogs on the farm.
Those animals are with Denver Animal Control. White said they are a male and female mixed breed, perhaps Labrador and collie.
“We are looking at the possibility they could have played major role in the death of these animals,” White said.
But Skramstad said no animal could have opened the secured gates or cut open rabbit cages.
A Facebook video shows where the animals lived before they died -- all inside their enclosures. One victim was a pregnant goat named Dakota. A pregnant sheep was also slaughtered.
“These are not pets. But they are living things and there is always that relationship,” Skramstad said.
Farm executives are looking at how they will break the news to the children. It’s up to the state veterinarian to determine cause of death.
Police do not believe the animals were shot because their Spot Shooter technology did not detect any gunshots in the area overnight.