It was a fairly quiet winter for Edgartown animal control officer Barbara Prada. For the most part, the harsh weather kept the critters indoors.
But there has been one animal causing problems.
A ram named Chili has repeatedly torn free from its fencing confines on Crocker Road and roamed the plains of Katama. The sheep, whom Ms. Prada called a Houdini, has been the subject of as many as 10 calls, and has racked up two livestock-at-large violations, according to Ms. Prada’s year-to-date report, delivered to the town selectmen at their regular meeting this week.
Chili also head-butted one person and charged at several others.
“Because he is not castrated, he is being a little more aggressive now,” Ms. Prada said of the ram who was formerly known to be friendly and approachable. “If he goes up to you he tries to bite you.”
Typically, rams are castrated before their two-week birthday, the animal control officer told the selectmen. (Chili is about a year old and as it turns out was castrated last weekend at the Farm Institute.)
Julie Olson Scott, farm manager at the Farm Institute, said she also received many calls about Chili this winter from people who assumed that he was one of hers.
To prevent further mischief, the sheep’s owner, Clinton Fisher, agreed to board Chili at the farm for the time being.
“We were successfully able to convince him that it’s a dangerous pet to have,” Mrs. Olson Scott said. “Sheep are flock animals, so it’s not okay to have sheep by themselves. That’s how they get aggressive.”
The ram was sheared and castrated at the sheep festival held at the farm last weekend. For now, he remains in quarantine in a stall by himself at the barn.
Mrs. Olson Scott said Chili seems to like his own space, but does enjoy the occasional scratch behind the ears. She’s not sure the farm can keep him indefinitely.
“We are going to try and figure something out,” she said.