Thousands of hogs found dead; foul play suspected - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Thousands of hogs found dead; foul play suspected

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NEAR HULL, Iowa (KTIV) - Authorities are investigating the suffocation death of nearly 4,000 hogs in rural Hull, Iowa.        

Authorities say the airflow system inside their confinement was tampered with and don't believe it was an accident. 

"You have fans running so it's a little noisy around here and you hear some pigs squealing every once in a while, and it was just dead silence," said Todd Hasche, Building Site Owner. 

When Hasche entered the building he found more than 3,800 hogs were dead.  Only 20 of the animals owned by Sioux Feed Company in Sioux Center, Iowa had survived.

"First reaction?  I saw that the 'juice' was off," said Hasche. 

Not only were breakers in each confinement shut off, but Hasche says when he checked the back-up generator it too had been turned off.  The Sioux County Sheriff's Department suspects 'wrong doing'. 

"It just doesn't happen without somebody flipping a few switches," said Jason Bergsma, Sioux County Chief Deputy. 

Bergsma says the Sheriff's Department has a couple 'people of interest', but no arrests have been made.

He says they plan on sending 'items of interest' found at the scene to the Division of Criminal Investigation's lab in Ankeny, Iowa.  They'll continue with follow up interviews until charges are filed. 

"It's going to cost a lot of people a lot of money,” said Hasche.  He says about $250,000.

Authorities are not ruling out the possibility of animal activism.           

There have been several similar cases reported in the state of Iowa over the last 18 months where livestock were killed or farm property was destroyed.            

In October, LP tanks were destroyed in Sac and Calhoun Counties when they were hit by high power rifles.            

Authorities have also investigated "deliberate acts of vandalism" reported during the construction of livestock barns throughout the state.

Online Reporter: Allissa Hopkins

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