A pair of neglected sheep that were abandoned Nov. 14 at the Gilroy FFA Farm on Kern Avenue are grazing in greener pastures at the Orland Farm Sanctuary alongside their fellow four-legged refuge from Morgan Hill – Noel the goat – who almost became dinner on Christmas Eve 2011.
Named “Molly” and “Polly” by FFA students, the two sheep were gaunt and appeared to be in bad shape.
At one point, Molly had a broken leg which healed crooked, but she still gets along fine, said Supervisor Brigid Wasson with the Santa Clara County Animal Shelter.
Both sheep had overgrown hooves and needed a haircut – or in their case, a shearing.
Molly and Polly are noticeably curious of their human visitors, but nervous when approached by Wasson.
The shelter believes the sheep could be mother and daughter, as the two are tightly bonded.
Shelter veterinarian Dr. Chad Alves speculates the animals are about 6 and 10 and years old, respectively.
The sheep were discovered with plastic identification tags in their ears and ink markings on their backs, so it’s likely they had a human family at one point, Wasson explained.
“Between the ear tags and ink on her back, at one time these girls belonged to someone,” said Wasson, pointing to Molly. “But unfortunately there is no central registry we can check to find their home.”
In an effort to find an owner, photos are placed on the shelter’s website, www.sccgov.org, and at local South County feed stores.
“Often times, stray animals are left behind by owners that can no longer care for them, Wasson said.
She believes this is the case with Molly and Polly.
Animals at the San Martin shelter are generally placed into homes after a holding period, but staff decided the bleating pair of livestock guests would be better off at the Farm Sanctuary.
“These two girls need significant medical care that the average owner cannot take on,” Wasson said.
After examining the sheep and administering antibiotics, Dr. Alves concluded that dental work, a hoof trimming, a steady nutritious diet and a lot of care were in order to get the sheep on a path to recovery.
The total amount of livestock taken in by the shelter this year is about 12 animals, including Molly and Polly.
Wasson notes that figure is down from previous years.
When the recession began to snowball around 2008, the shelter was taking in double that amount of abandoned livestock.
Adding insult to injury, “we tend to get these animals when they are at the end of their useful life,” Wasson said.
The fate of Molly and Polly is typical for many livestock whose owners run often into hard times – particularly in this area, Wasson added.
“People may not want to go through the expense of these unwanted animals, so they just dump them,” she said.
Molly and Polly are not the first Morgan Hill animal residents to find their way to the Farm Sanctuary in Orland.
On Christmas Eve last year, a goat was found hog-tied in the trunk of a car on a traffic stop, according to police. Officers believed the men driving the car intended to eat their furry cargo.
The goat was rescued by the Santa Clara County Animal Shelter and eventually taken to the Orland Farm Sanctuary. Dubbed “Noel,” by shelter workers, the goat has blossomed since his move to the sanctuary.
“He is thriving and having a lot of fun,” said Shelter Director Tara Oresick with the Orland branch of Farm Sanctuary, a national non profit organization with 3 locations throughout the U.S.
Farm Sanctuary is not your typical dog or cat shelter, Oresick beamed.
Animals find a home and loving care, are given pain medications for their injuries, specialty food to enhance their well-being and a safe environment to live in.
“We don’t milk them or do anything to them, we just let them live out their lives in peace,” remarks Oresick.
At their new pad in Orland, Molly and Polly will be introduced into the sheep her after a month of quarantine to make sure they are free of illness or parasites.
Though some animals that come to Farm Sanctuary are understandably wary of people, they all find a place among their new furry friends, said Oresick. She’s confident Molly and Polly will enjoy their new home.
“They go on to lead really happy lives,” Oresick smiled.