Casey Echevarria was making his usual rounds through his farm to check on his livestock when he made a horrifying discovery.
Several of his dogs were fighting for their lives after being poisoned with strychnine.
"When you watch a dog lay down in your arms and go into convulsions…” Echevarria trailed off. “There're other ways to humanely euthanize, you know. Strychnine is one of the worst killers and that's what's driving me crazy."
So far, Echevarria has had 14 dogs including a litter of puppies die on his farm. The herder fears he and his dogs are a direct target of somebody looking to do him harm. A veterinarian found the dead dogs' stomachs were full of the poison, mixed with ground beef.
"What’s going to happen again, or what's going to go wrong? If you got 14 dogs and a litter of puppies that are seven, eight weeks old, what's this person doing? They don't understand these dogs." Echevarria said.
Working dogs are critical to Echevarria's herding operation. He has breeds that stay with the sheep full time to protect them from predators. When it's time to move out, herding dogs corral sheep and goats into pens and trailers.
"A good stock dog is worth two workers," said Echevarria.
The Canyon County Sheriff's Department is investigating the poisoning. A spokesperson said it is still to early to say what charges would be brought forward in the case.