A husband and wife were planning on a sacrificing a sheep for Passover as part of religious tradition. But because of how they treated that animal beforehand, they were convicted of animal cruelty and neglect.
Eight months ago, the sheep was locked up in an apartment near downtown Colorado Springs.
Kevin Lofland is the landlord of that apartment. He owns the late 1800s Victorian house that is now converted into apartments.
One day this last spring, his tenants started complaining of a foul smell and strange animal sounds.
“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,” said Lofland.
Lofland says he has a no-animal policy, so he told the couple living in the room that the sheep had to go.
He tells 11 News he was even more surprised when he found out the reason it was there in the first place.
The couple told him they were going to sacrifice it for Passover.
“I was afraid to be awoken by the death cry of a sheep in the morning. That freaked me out,” said Lofland. He said while he respects their religious beliefs, he just doesn’t want the sacrifice to happen at the apartment.
“He can do whatever he wants, but not in my house, not on my property."
The man and woman reportedly belong to what’s described as a religious sect called the Hebrew-Israelites.
The landlord allowed him to keep the sheep in a basement closet just for one night. But the next day instead of the sheep being gone, he found a padlock on the door.
He couldn’t get a hold of the couple, so he called authorities.
Investigators found the sheep with a lack of food and no water. He was locked up with chains and weights around its neck. Those who testified during the trial, said he was found lying in his own feces.
Because of those living conditions, the couple was found guilty of animal cruelty and neglect.
Now 30-year-old Periz Jackson and 42-year-old Elijah Black each face up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The jury found them guilty on two counts under the animal cruelty act. The couple will be sentenced at the beginning of January.
The sheep has a new lease on life after a family adopted him. Now named Sprinkles, the sheep lives on a Southern Colorado farm and spends his days playing with horses and dogs.