ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Three, loose dogs were able to get into the Spring River Zoo in Roswell, and the break-in resulted in tragedy. The dogs reportedly killed four zoo animals.

It’s left the zoo staff heartbroken while the city tries to find the dangerous dogs. The attack had zoo staff in tears Thursday. The City of Roswell said they had just put up new fencing to keep their animals safe, but it didn’t work.

“They are like our own; they are our own for our keepers,” said Roswell Public Affairs Director Jaunita Jennings, “but they are part of our family.”

Thursday morning, zookeepers were exposed to a horrific sight when they came into work at the Spring River Zoo in Roswell.

“One of our keepers noticed that there were dogs inside the zoo property.”

Three dogs allegedly dug under a newly installed fence inside the zoo overnight. They killed three barbary sheep and a wallaby.

“How they got into the exhibits, they dug underneath a first fence then they dug underneath a second perimeter fence inside the exhibit.”

It’s devastated zoo staff. Two of the sheep were raised by them.

“The barbary sheep, Barbie and Bugsy, our zoo curator Andrea Cole, she bottle-fed these animals when they were brought to Spring River Zoo.”

Vinny was the third Barbary sheep killed. He was a transfer from the Alamogordo zoo.

“He was new to our family and was still in the quarantine process to be introduced to his new mates.”

Cashew, also known as ‘Cash,’ was a five-year-old wallaby.

“He was being trained and stimulated to take a peanut and do this is the type of enrichment that helped them.”

The zoo was closed Thursday, and a veterinarian came in to check on the other animals.

“Anytime there is a stressful situation, we want to make sure that our other animals are ok as well.”

The Spring River Zoo has faced problems recently. Earlier this year, an elk was fatally injured by a faulty enclosure fence, and last year, a bear being temporarily housed at the zoo from Alamogordo, escaped its enclosure. The city said they have been working to re-enforce the fencing for a while.

“Our keepers and staff will do everything they possibly can to ensure the safety of our animals.”

Thursday night, the zoo staff will be staying overnight in shifts to patrol and ensure the animals are safe. The zoo plans on reopening Friday morning at 10.


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The dogs took off before workers could catch them. The city is trying to find them: one is described as a black collie-lab mix with a white patch. The other two are brindle in color, one appeared to be a pregnant female. Call the city’s animal services if you see them.