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Someone is running over dogs in polygamous towns

Published March 19, 2013 10:53 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For the past few days I've been hearing reports of animals being run over by cars in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

After following a few leads, I heard from Issac Wyler that the most grisly event happened Feb. 20. Wyler — who did not see the incident himself — said some kids from a formerly FLDS family were playing with their dog near the dairy in Colorado City when a white pickup truck tried to run over the pet. Wyler said the kids were pleading with the driver to stop but he just laughed and "squished" the dog beneath the wheels of his truck.

"It didn't even come close to surviving," Wyler said.

I wanted to talk to the kids' parents and Wyler said he passed along my phone number, but no one ever called. Wyler speculated that the family might be too scared to attract any publicity.

Wyler also said that about three weeks before the Feb. 20 incident his own daughter was riding horses with a friend when someone tried to run them off the road. That driver eventually gave up, Wyler said, but a block later a different vehicle ran over their dog. In that case, Wyler added, the dog survived.

Wyler said the incidents have been reported to local law enforcement.

Representatives from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office said they couldn't provide information about ongoing investigations. However, Arizona Attorney General spokeswoman Kathleen Winn said Thursday that an investigator had been assigned to the case.

The incidents are also the latest in a string of unusual and sometimes violent treatment of animals in the twin polygamous towns. In the past, there have been allegations that police acted on orders from FLDS leader Warren Jeffs to help euthanize dogs.

And then there was the incident in 2012 when someone buried a kitten in wet cement on Wyler's property. After that incident Wyler said that he has been finding dead cats on his property for years.

— Jim Dalrymple


Twitter: @jimmycdii