A couple could face as many as 18 months in jail for their neglectful treatment of a sacrificial sheep.
Periz Jackson and Elijah Black were found guilty of animal cruelty for starving and abusing the sheep they were planning to sacrifice for religious purposes. They are to be sentenced Monday.
Investigators say the couple kept the sheep locked up with weights around its neck, and were not giving it enough food and water. Those who testified at their trial last year said the sheep was found lying in its own feces.
The landlord at the 1800s Victorian house the couple resided in learned of the sheep's existence after other tenants started to complain of a foul odor and strange noises. The house was converted into apartments, so Jackson and Black share the house with other people.
“We thought it might be a goat. We heard a 'bah' sound in the room. What in the heck is this? A sheep inside my house? It just totally blew me away,” Kevin Lofland told 11 News.
The couple, who are members of a religious sect called the Hebrew-Israelites, told Lofland they were planning to sacrifice the sheep for Passover.
A jury found the couple guilty on two counts of animal cruelty. They could be sentenced to as much as 18 months in prison and hit with a $5,000 fine.
The sheep, meanwhile, was given a new lease on life after he was discovered. Now named Sprinkles, the sheep lives on a Southern Colorado farm and spends his days playing with horses and dogs.