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N4T Investigators: Illegal and Inhumane

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DOUGLAS - Ron Moeringer lives in a rural area west of town because he likes the peace and quiet and fresh air. Both have been affected recently by howling coyotes and a terrible stench.

“The coyotes come down and the dogs from all over the neighborhood come down [here]” Moeringer told the News 4 Tucson Investigators. “And it really gets bad at night. The noise and the smell.”

Across the road from Ron's home is a large field where dead goats and sheep have been dumped, illegally. We walked through an obstacle course of animal fur, bones, legs and skulls. There is a dead sheep whose remains are intact, emitting a horrible smell.

Moeringer said, “And I’ve got horses and I’ve got my own dog and I don't know what these animals are dying from.”

Ron says he saw the dead animals dragged a half a mile by a neighbor, tied to his truck with a rope around their necks. He claims three goats were dumped late last year, the sheep last month.

“Ken” lives nearby and doesn't want to be identified or use his real name (due to fear of retribution). He says he can't keep his windows open due to the stench. “The smell from the poor dead animals out here is terrible. This is not the way to treat an animal,” he said. Regarding the noise at night, Ken said. “Oh geez, they get real loud. I'm probably a quarter- mile away, and you can hear 'em howling and making all kinds of noise.”

Carrie Langley, the Director of Cochise County Health and Social Services, says the dumping is clearly illegal. “The law states that they need to be buried or incinerated,” Langley told the News 4 Tucson Investigators. She added, “I don't know why these animals are deceased. With the drawing wildlife, the concern of more frequent wildlife in an area, and potentially the wildlife having rabies and bringing that closer to people.

The neighbors we spoke with claimed the illegal dumper  lives a half-mile from where the dead animals were dumped. 

We approached the resident there. He identified himself as Robert Foster. (After our report aired Monday night, viewers identified him as Robert Forrest). We asked him, “Did you dump them there in November and December and a couple of weeks ago?” He said, “No.” We asked, “Do you know who did? “No.” “Have you ever dumped animals there?” He replied, “Yes.”

After he denied doing the recent dumpings, we showed that interview to Ron. He said, “That's him. I'm positive.”

Ron reported the dumping and the county issued a Cease and Desist order to the property owner. He doesn't live in the neighborhood and officials say he was unaware of the dumping, is cooperating, and removing the carcasses. Foster said he's dumped many animals there, in what he calls his "boneyard." He said it’s legal to dump livestock there. “That’s incorrect,” said Langley.

The neighbor, “Ken” said, “I'm not a violent person but sometimes you want to you know grab him and shake him a little bit and say, 'Look, you know, this is not humane.’

We asked Ron Moeringer, “If you could talk to this guy, this illegal dumper, what would you tell him?

“Just stop,” Moeringer said. “Bury them, do it on your own property, someplace out where you live. Instead of where I live and I have to put up with the repercussions of it.”

Ron and Ken say now that the illegal and inhumane dumping has received attention, along with the Cease and Desist order, they hope their neighborhood will again be peaceful, and that they can leave their windows open.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

Matthew Schwartz

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