Ducks and geese at an Orem community pond are turning up dead. Residents first thought it was something in the water, but they've discovered it's something they never thought would happen in their own backyards.
Almost every evening, the pond near Sleepy Ridge Golf Course in Orem serves as a sort of gathering place for the people in the neighborhood. It's a place especially meaningful to Catherine Whittaker.
"I'm a registered nurse and I've helped deliver babies for 40 years," said Whittaker. "I'm a nurturer and I love animals."
Though she cares for people as her profession, she's spent the last six years rescuing and caring for a different kind of patient in her spare time.
"We've rescued (duckling) babies since the time they were hatched and abandoned," she said.
She and the other neighbors say they spend close to $100 a month to feed them. But as pretty as the picturesque site is, for the last three days something ugly has been going on.
"This is the rescue pond and (someone) has been clipping them off while they're nesting," she said. "Someone has been shooting them."
She believes each bird died after being shot by a pellet gun.
"We laid them out and looked through every one and every one had a bullet hole," she said.
It's something especially hard to understand for the youngest caretakers in the community.
"I like feeding them," said Landon Shumway. "I just don't know why someone would shoot them. It's just real sad."
Now, for Catherine and the rest of the neighborhood, talk at the pond is about catching and stopping whoever is to blame.
"It's been really hard," she said. "They were just like our little babies."
The Division of Wildlife Resources said some of the birds killed are protected species. They're asking anyone with information to contact them at 800-662-3337. The neighborhood is also offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the person or people responsible.