Sheep Bites Should Not Be Ignored

(Ridin’ Round the Range – September 21, 2015)

A motherly ewe savagely attacked a friend of mine last Saturday night. The angry, ruminant animal bit him on the neck and hand before attempting to drag him off into the bush for dark atrocities we can only imagine. Fortunately the local women’s lacrosse team happened by and drove off the vicious wooly with a telephone pole, some discarded fireworks and a giant-size Dr. Pepper.

Some of you out there are saying, “Earl, don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” Ha! Tinhorns think of sheep as docile, grazing animals that are afraid of little dogs and their own shadows. This is far from the case. A mature ewe protecting its young or a ram out on a bender, when even slightly provoked, will take on anything from a coyote to a Chevy pickup.

My friend, the one who sustained the bites Saturday night, is recovering at St. Roscoe’s Clinic in the facility’s only bed. He says he’s learned his lesson about sheep. We’ll see.

Sheep attacks are up a whopping 45% from 2014, when zoologists began feverishly compiling data on the subject. Animal behaviorists blame the spike in violence on breakdown of herd values, absence of viable role models and impersonalization at the state and federal level. They say most sheep exhibit a general feeling of hopelessness and very little opportunity for betterment.

Stress has also elbowed its way into the picture since the price of wool has been sporadic (since the wool glut of 2009). Forced relocation to seasonal pastures has only thrown gasoline of the fire.

But lets not throw out the baby with the bath water here. There are still some good sheep out there. They are simply shouted down by the radical element bent on creating a wedge between herd animals and agriculture. One used to be able to drive through a herd on the highway without incident. Today you are subject to glares and catcalls.

Sheep in eight Western states must already declare residency and submit to urine tests but that may not be enough according to Melvin Toole, of the Department of the Inferior. “Cumbersome record keeping be damned,” he quacked. “This is the best way to keep a lid on things until we figure out a master plan. We’re good at master plans.”

More aggressive mouthpieces such as Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Oral Noise (Unitarian-CA) say the military should bomb the offending animals.

“That’s how the feds solve problems,” said Cruz, who added that the Obama Administration was “soft on sheep. “Let these crazed creatures feel the wrath of our air force. We could just promise to keep collateral damage down and nobody would be the wiser.”

If a sheep confront s you remain calm and do not make eye contact or attempt to flee. Stand up to them. Flap your arms and puff up. This may either frighten the animals off or enrage it and culminate with a frontal attack. If you are traveling by car do not stop and get out near herds. The temptation to feed the cute little lambs may be strong but more than one camper has lost an arm or a leg to these suddenly savage even-toed ungulates.

Veterinarians say that sheep are reasonably clean animals and rarely carry diseases, however one does not know where they have been. The accepted treatment is as follows:

First: Remove the animal from the target area. Treat the bite, not the symptoms. Wash the area and apply disinfectant. Victims with allergies to wool should never be covered or the bites bandaged.

Second: The patient must lie quietly as bites like these often take up to six weeks to heal.

Third: If the victim is still alive after 48 hours he/she has passed the perilous stage and can be given solid food.
– Earl “Beefsteak” MacAdoo

Next time: Spotting and subduing carnivorous ptarmigans in the wild

Filed Under: Lifestyles at Risk


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