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Dog takes ewe’s ear

An aggressive Labrador mix, acting without provocation, attacked a defenseless ewe earlier in the week on a private property north of Oak Harbor, completely severing the ear and leaving the animal traumatized.

Cecilia Welch, a legal assistance attorney at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, was at work Monday morning when she received a phone call from Bryce Schuldt, her Clover Valley Road neighbor. The Whidbey Island General Hospital paramedic told her that Matilda had been attacked.

“I was shocked,” Welch said. “Bryce told me they had her on the ground and had taken her ear off completely.”

Two canines, the brown Lab mix and a black Chow Chow, reportedly entered Welch’s expansive fenced-in property and targeted the affectionate black ewe that had always enjoyed a peaceful coexistence with a fellow female sheep, a goat and a llama aptly named Dalai.

“I looked out the front window and saw the animals going crazy. I knew it wasn’t CeCe’s,” said Linda Schuldt, Bryce’s wife. The couple raise alpacas next door on their property that borders Welch’s.

Chaos continued to ensue until Bryce learned of the attack and raced to Matilda’s rescue. He found the ear lying on the ground and the animal hemorrhaging from the neck. The hospital paramedic sprang to action and quickly stemmed the bleeding with bandages, stabilizing Matilda until Coupeville veterinarian Dr. Robert Moody could arrive.

“Dr. Moody did a wonderful job,” Welch said.

The Chow Chow was not new to the area, but Welch said she had never seen its violent cohort. Matilda, like other sheep, is largely defenseless against attacks. Linda added that the docile animals will usually shut down during an altercation.

“Matilda is small and she’s fast,” said Welch, who keeps the animals as pets. “But she can’t fight back. This is so sad. The goat is also favoring one of its legs. We’re not sure if she’s hurt or not.”

The extent of the ewe’s injuries and the considerable expenses required to treat the wounds made euthanasia a viable option. Welch, however, did not see it that way. Matilda was ambulatory Wednesday, albeit moving slower than usual, as her furry friends held vigil.

“I have to give her a shot for seven days, but the wounds are looking much better,” Welch said.

Island County Sheriff’s Deputy Leif Haugen was the first responder to the incident, said Carol Barnes, Island County animal control officer.

“He did a great job,” she said. “It was a cooperative effort.”

Barnes said the dog Bryce initially believed was a pit bull turned out to be the Lab mix. Both canines are owned by a woman renting a nearby residence. She told the animal control officer that the attack was likely carried out by the Lab, as the 16-year-old Chow Chow was toothless.

Barnes cited the woman and charged her with two counts of control off premises, an Island County Code violation. The dog owner will also be required to pay restitution.

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