TURNER, Ore. Circling buzzards led neighbors to discover more than 30 sheep with full-grown wool had dropped dead in a field in rural Marion County near Turner.
Sheriff's spokesman Don Thomson said deputies arrived Sunday and gave remaining sheep water and food. Some of the sheep appeared to have died recently, while others were partially decomposed, Thomson said.
The dead sheep were found in a pasture on Little Road SE. The temperature was in the 90s at the time. Deputies said more than 200 sheep were still alive in the pasture, which was covered with green, standing grass.
There was also a large container of a liquid mixture of soy, water and molasses in the pasture.
The caretaker of the property told deputies that he didn't see any dead sheep when he last checked on them. David Etzel said he lives in a nearby farmhouse and cares for the sheep for his grandfather.
Neighbors said they have long been concerned about the care of the sheep, the Statesman Journal reported.
Thomson said deputies plan to meet with a veterinarian to determine if there is any evidence of neglect. The case will be submitted to the Marion County District Attorney's Office.
No charges have been filed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.