Ram on the lam: Bart's story heading to a happy ending, no butts about it
Bart the ram is shown in this portrait by Olympic Peninsula Humane Society. Click on icon below for a photo of Bart as a ram-charger.
Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
State Patrol Trooper Eric Ellefson stares down a wayward ram, later named Bart, running loose in Port Angeles on Friday.
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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By Saturday, Bart was expected to soon be enjoying his new home on a property in the Joyce area, said Suzy Zustiak, the veterinarian and manager of the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society animal shelter at 2105 U.S. Highway 101.
Bart, named by Humane Society staff, was at the shelter Friday afternoon after a journey in which he crossed Highway 101 several times and escaped confinement at least twice.
Bart's romp ended with his capture along the Waterfront Trail near the former Rayonier mill property in east Port Angeles.
The animal initially was reported to be running loose near Safeway at 2709 E. U.S. Highway 101 east of Port Angeles at about 8:30 a.m.
The Clallam County Sheriff's Office called the Humane Society asking for help in wrangling a brown ram with large horns that had been spotted in the Safeway parking lot, said Mary Beth Wegener, executive director of the Humane Society.
“That's when we started our journey,” Wegener said.
Zustiak said Bart had been spotted along North Lee's Creek Road just west of Safeway, and before that south of Highway 101.
Her impression was that Bart escaped from a property along Pearce Road, about 1½ miles south of the highway.
Humane Society staff found the ram wandering around the Safeway parking lot. He eventually made his way to vacant storefronts east of the supermarket.
“He saw his reflection in the windows and was kind of fighting with himself,” Zustiak said, adding that Bart was pawing at the ground and preparing to butt his apparent twin.
Bart's distraction allowed Zustiak to slip a lasso around his neck and lead him into a waiting minivan for transport to the shelter west of Port Angeles.
Zustiak said Bart's owners, who were at the Safeway shopping center, asked whether the Humane Society could take the ram off their hands.
They were trying to find new homes for all the sheep they had on their property, including Bart, she said.
The Humane Society obliged, and Bart was at the shelter by about 9:30 a.m., Zustiak said.
However, staff soon realized they did not have the space to keep the animal, so he was moved to Wegener's own property along Mount Angeles Road.
But Bart wasn't done.
“We put him in there, and by the time we got back to the shelter, we had a phone call that he had gotten out,” Wegener said.
At about noon, Wegener said the shelter received a report of Bart being seen near south Jones and East Front streets downtown.
Zustiak set out once again to seek the elusive ungulate.
She checked Jones and Front but didn't find him.
Port Angeles police told her that officers and members of the public were chasing him at the north end of North Ennis Street near the former Rayonier mill site.
“[Bart] was exhausted,” Zustiak said.
“He wasn't about to give up.”
After at least 45 minutes of running after the animal, Bart was finally lassoed by an officer and loaded into Zustiak's small sport utility vehicle for his second — and final — trip to the shelter, where they put him in a horse trailer.
Bart, a Shetland sheep likely weighing between 90 and 100 pounds, was in good health when captured, Zustiak said.
Zustiak said the Joyce-area residents who are planning to adopt Bart heard about him via the Humane Society's Facebook page after the society posted a photo of the ram with the message that they needed a home for him.
The Joyce residents were the only ones of about four people who called about Bart who said they could permanently adopt him rather than just foster him temporarily.
Wegener described Bart as friendly and calm around people once he was caught.
“He was running from us, he didn't want to be caught, but once he was caught, he must have figured it wasn't worth the fight,” Wegener said.
“He picked a good day to go cruise town.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: September 21. 2013 7:00PM