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Video: Alleged animal cruelty stokes tensions in Colorado City

by Stephen Dark
- Posted // 2012-07-11 -

A video of a live kitten cemented up to its head in a metal pipe alleges to reveal the cruelty of the ongoing struggle for control over polygamous townships Colorado City and Hildale. 

Tensions in the "crik," as locals call the stronghold of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have been escalating steadily in the past two years with the trial and child-sex-abuse conviction of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.

Much of the struggle has focused over control of the land, with the United Effort Plan, administered by Salt Lake City-based accountant Bruce Wisan and his men on the ground, Jethro Barlow and Isaac Wyler, encouraging former and non-FLDS residents to take up abandoned properties.

According to the video, which you can view at the end of this post, the kitten was discovered cemented into a pole on Wyler's land. The kitten survived the rescue attempt but later died, says Andrew Chatwin, a former FLDS member who shot the video.

Wyler complained to City Weekly several years ago of his horses being attacked, allegedly by FLDS members in retaliation for what they see as his campaign, on behalf of the UEP, to undermine them and take away their homes. 

In 2009, City Weekly spent time with Barlow and Wyler to learn more about their work and the issues that had led them to confront a church to which they had both belonged. Their story is related in  "Polygamist Vs. Polygamist."

Tensions in the town are already high, with the Arizona Attorney General effectively funding a parallel police force to patrol the streets of Colorado City alongside local officers—who have long been said to have close links to the FLDS—and a series of expulsions of FLDS men, allegedly ordered by Jeffs from prison, plus a Department of Justice civil-rights lawsuit against the townships.

In the meantime, the rank-and-file members of the FLDS wait to see how the the end of the world, as predicted by Jeffs for the end of this year, or the 10th Circuit of Appeals will change their fate.

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