Sheep on the lam caught after chase in McKinley Park

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An elusive sheep seemed to be playing a game of cat and mouse in McKinley Park Monday as officials worked to capture the loose animal.

Now dubbed McKinley, the adult female sheep is believed to have likely gotten loose during transport from a farm to animal processing facilities on the city's southwest side.

Dale Austin was on her morning walk when she encountered what she thought was a ram and called 911.

"He looked healthier when I first saw him," said witness Dale Austin.

Soon, police and animal control officers joined Austin in attempts to herd the animal into a truck parking lot on the SW corner of Damen Ave. and I-55. They took their time cornering the beast and tranquilizing it.

"He's pretty smart. He knew where the gate was, he explored the perimeter and he took a bolt for the gate. They tried to push him back, and he kind of jumped and started going down here and luckily we got him in here," Austin said.

The scared beast didn't know it, but getting caught was its best shot at a better life. After trying to shake off the effects of a tranquilizing dart, Animal Care swooped in and brought her to their main facility not far away on S. Western Ave.

"Her fate has been changed, yes. We will ensure she goes to a rescue or sanctuary," said Chicago Animal Control Executive Director Kelley Gandurski. "She is a beautiful animal, very tall actually, full grown. [I'm] glad she is in our care. We are sorry that she is scared but we will make sure that she is comfortable."

The city has relationships with networks of farms downstate. After run-ins with alligators, pigs and other animals, doing what's right for McKinley is not expected to be too complicated.

"She is a very, I would say, majestic creature. She is peaceful, she has beautiful eyes and seems to be a gentle soul so we will make sure she finds a great place to go," Gandurski said.

McKinley had a green tag on her but nothing clearly indicating who owned her. Officials said if anyone does come forward looking for their lost sheep, they can call Chicago Animal Care and Control to make a claim.
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