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Farmer corners canine culprit in sheep attacks

KEVIN CASTLE • May 19, 2007 at 1:12 AM

SULLIVAN GARDENS - John Kelley is pleased to announce that no animals were harmed during the apprehension of the killer of his sheep.

"Last time, I said I was old school, and I am. I'm willing to give second chances. Now that this is behind us, we go on," said Kelley following the end of bloodshed on his Sullivan Gardens sheep farm that began last month.

Apparently the culprit that caused the livestock owner to lose 14 sheep valued at $3,000 over a two-week period was a roaming rottweiler that belonged to a neighbor a few hundred feet down the road from Kelley's property.

"Originally, when we went door to door asking neighbors if they had dogs that they let loose at night, we were unable to speak with these folks because they worked at virtually all hours of the day," said Kelley.

"I will say that they have been very remorseful about what happened, and they have told me that they are going to take full responsibility for what happened. They just simply did not know what their pet was doing when they let it loose to run."

Kelley and some family members took a risky but more visible move by penning up the remaining herd in one of his fields instead of keeping the sheep in the barn.

The family then began a series of around-the-clock vigils to see if they could catch the dog or dogs in the act. That happened May 4 while Kelley was at dinner.

"My daughter-in-law calls me on my cell phone, yelling, ‘We got him, we got him, come quick,''' said Kelley.

"The pen was located at a point where we could close a gate behind (the dog), and we were able to trap him. We kept him in an enclosed area until animal control arrived. The dog had identification on his collar, and the owner was notified.

"After speaking with (the owners), I truly believe they did not have an inkling as to what their dog was doing. But these are responsible people, and I feel like they are going to do what's right. I don't plan on pressing any charges."

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