MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The saga of Henry the ram has a happy ending.
Henry escaped from a Mahopac farm back in November after a coyote attack that decimated most of the livestock there—a flock of about 30 sheep. A panicked Henry was able to fend off the coyotes and escape, leading Carmel police cars to follow him down the road on a “low-speed chase” until he returned home safely.
Henry’s owner told police that he couldn’t afford to coyote-proof his property and wanted to do what was best for Henry. He would be better off somewhere else.
Up stepped Animal Nation, an animal rescue organization headquartered in Rye with a farm animal sanctuary in South Salem (Lewisboro).
“We are the only organization in the area that does farm animals, so we get a lot of 911 calls,” said Patrick Moore, vice president of Animal Nation. “We got calls that a ram was on the loose in Mahopac, cops were following him. Our phone was ringing off the hook. Henry’s owner couldn’t keep him anymore.”
Moore said the lambs on the Mahopac farm were inside a building, but the coyotes broke through the windows and attacked them.
“So, Henry took off down the road, and he ended up about two miles away,” Moore said. “We went out the next day and had a vet come out with us—Dr. Maria Kremerman from South Putnam Animal Hospital. Henry was so nervous and was not castrated, which is necessary to come here. He was sedated and castrated and then brought here and the very next day he was fine.”
As per Animal Nation rules, Henry was quarantined for three weeks before being introduced into the sanctuary’s general population.
“He joined our four sheep and the five of them hang tight now,” Moore said. “Seeing the other animals helped him to calm down.”
Carmel Police Chief Mike Cazzari said last month’s incident wasn’t the first time Henry came to the police department’s attention.
“He got out in November 2018 and was over on the school grounds,” the chief said. “We got calls that a ram was terrifying the kids.”
But Moore said Henry will now be able to live out his life with Animal Nation, noting that while he did not know Henry’s precise age, he said, “he is not a young ram.”
Moore said Animal National tries to help all animals. It has three divisions—one for farm animals, one for wildlife rehabilitation, and one for domestic pets (with facilities in Norwalk, Stamford and Darien, Conn.).
“We have 90 to 100 volunteers, no paid staff,” he said. “We take people in need and animals in need and marry them, so to speak. Our volunteers are doing [court-ordered] community service, or have drug addiction issues, emotional issues. The animals help them, and they help the animals.”
Moore said they don’t like to reveal the specific address of the farm animal sanctuary because people will drop off animals unannounced—sometimes even toss them over the fence.
“We had someone tie an 800-pound hog to the fence once,” he said. “For our pets in Connecticut, we have signs on our cars [that say Animal Nation] and once found that someone had tied up cats to the tire. We are a small nonprofit and don’t want to get overwhelmed. We get about 8,000 calls a year asking for help for some type of animal.”