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Livestock on the lam

August 26, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Two Washington County Sheriff's deputies and a local farmer on Wednesday morning attempted to corral two sheep that got loose Monday afternoon when the farmer tried to deliver them to Four States Livestock Auction on East First Street in Hagerstown.

By Wednesday morning, the sheep were in the area of Weiss Bros. of Hagerstown Inc. on Oak Ridge Drive.

Two deputies, one on either side of the Weiss Bros. driveway, tried to catch the animals but one of the sheep tried to kick one of the deputies in the face before both sheep ran off into a field behind the business, Michael Weiss said in a telephone interview from his office.

The sheriff's department left the scene at 10:52 a.m., leaving the sheep's owner to corral the animals from the 17900 block of West Oak Ridge Drive, Sgt. Daryl Sanders said.

The two sheep, older ewes taken to the livestock auction at the end of the productive breeding years, managed to bolt as they were being unloaded Monday, farmer Imre Jarmy said.

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Both animals crossed Wilson Boulevard and disappeared into the woods around LifeHouse Church Bethel, Jarmy said.

"Nobody hit them, amazingly," he said.

On Wednesday morning, the sheriff's department called Jarmy to tell him they were getting reports of sheep loose in the area of Oak Ridge Drive.

"It's amazing the distance they traveled without being hit," Jarmy said. His concern for the sheep, which were still on the loose Wednesday evening at about 5 p.m., was that dogs would chase them down and harm them, he said.

Jarmy, 76, and his wife, Linda, 60, found the sheep on Oak Ridge Drive near the Weiss Bros. facility. The area is wooded and not fenced, he said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

"There was no way you can catch them," he said. "We tried to call them. They know our voices. They were not about to come close," Jarmy said.

The sheep were probably traumatized by Monday's trip to the livestock auction, Jarmy said. The animals had never been off his Keedysville farm. All of a sudden, they were loaded into a pickup truck, he said.

"They were not happy campers," he said.

Linda Jarmy said they will wait until another sighting to try and corral the sheep again.

Each sheep probably would bring $50 to $60 at auction, Imre Jarmy said.

Sheep are culled from their flock when they're about 8 years old, the age of both escaped sheep, Linda Jarmy said.

The Humane Society of Washington County was contacted Monday when the sheep were first reported missing, and again Wednesday, said Paul Miller, executive director. Sheep are difficult to catch, and for that reason the Humane Society is looking for someone with a dog experienced in sheep herding. Such a dog is probably the best option for rounding up the sheep, Miller said.

If anyone does encounter the sheep, do not attempt to chase them -- that will only make it worse, Miller said. If the sheep are in a confined area, notify the Humane Society immediately so they can help catch the animals, he said.

The Humane Society can be reached at 301-733-2060

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