WAIMEA — Hawaii Island Humane Society staff experienced a shocking and saddening start to their week when they returned Monday morning to the absence of one of their young and beloved farm animals.
A 2- to 3-month-old mouflon hybrid lamb, named Loa, was taken from the Waimea shelter sometime between 7 a.m. Sunday and when the employees returned on Monday morning.
It is believed that the suspect(s) jumped over the entrance gate, and broke down an inner fence leading to the shelter’s pasture, which was home to Loa as well as two other goats and three sheep.
Along with taking Loa, it appears the burglar attempted to steal the sheep as well — one of them was discovered with an apparent lasso injury. Staff ultimately decided the injuries required humane euthanization.
“This is a big concern because this has never happened out here in Waimea,” said Roxy O’Neal, the Hawaii Island Humane Society’s West Regional Manager. “We’ve had instances of theft in Kona and Keaau but not typically here, especially for a farm animal to be stolen out of our pastures and to have another one injured in the process is definitely concerning for us.”
The Hawaii Police Department has been notified and an investigation is underway. There is currently a $200 reward to find the missing lamb.
The male lamb was dropped off at the shelter about a month ago and its survival depends on round-the-clock care.
“Knowing the nature of an animal that requires special needs — it’s critical that this particular animal is found and receives its feed in order for it to survive,” said Regina Dodaro Romero Serrano, director of shelter operations.
This is the second animal theft case for the Waimea community in the past two weeks. On Jan. 5, seven hens were stolen from a coop at Malaai, The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School.
But after receiving the devastating news about their hens, students are taking initiative to solve this tragic situation in proactive ways.
On Tuesday, students came together to install a new fence bordering the backside of the chicken coop preventing any further access from behind.
“A bunch of our kids come from ranching families so they totally know how to put up fences and they were just like, ‘let’s do this,’” said Holly Sargeant-Green, garden leader. “I was really inspired at how great they were.”
Sargeant-Green said the garden’s not looking to add anymore chickens until they are confident that their feathered pets will be safe and secure at all times.
The investigations into the missing lamb and chickens is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Waimea police department’s non-emergency line at 887-3080 or the humane society’s Waimea shelter at 885-4558.