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40 people try to catch 2 lost sheep near E.C. Row Expressway

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An animal sanctuary has been attempting to rescue two sheep found roaming near busy traffic on the E.C. Row Expressway, but the farm's owner says the capture is challenging due to safety concerns.

Lauren Edwards, owner of Charlotte's Freedom Farm in Dresden, Ont., said she received multiple messages on July 6 reporting a sheep on the side of the highway.

"I started looking into it a little further and I guess the sheep had been there for at least two weeks," she said.

Dash cam video posted to the Windsor Car Spotters Facebook group in mid-June shows a sheep running across the highway near the Dominion Boulevard off-ramp.

On Saturday, Edwards coordinated about 10 people to search for the sheep.

Within 10 minutes, she said, they spotted it in a grassy area near École Secondaire E.J. Lajeunesse — located right next to the E.C. Row and Dougall Avenue — but could not secure it after trying for more than an hour.

"Usually when you're trapping a dog, cat or another animal, they're hungry. But the problem is the sheep have a buffet of food right now. There's grass, trees, branches and leaves," said Edwards.

"Everything they could want to survive is out there. So they're definitely looking at humans as predators right now."

An additional 30 people joined the search effort the next day.

While searching a fenced area near the expressway Sunday, they realized there was more than one sheep in the area.

"A volunteer on one side of the fence said, 'Hey, we just saw the sheep.' But then another group [on the other side] said, 'He just ran by here' ... They're fast but they're not that fast. We quickly realized we were chasing two sheep," said Edwards.

The farm or organization that owns the sheep is unknown, but Edwards said the size and location of the sheep suggest they may have jumped out of a transport vehicle heading toward a slaughterhouse.

Edwards said she has received suggestions from the community on ways to catch the sheep, such as using traps or herding dogs.

But the biggest obstacle is navigating around busy traffic along the highway.

"Sheepdogs are very well trained but I think they're very focused on the sheep when they're trying to herd them. So I wouldn't want a dog to be so focused on the sheep when they run across the road. It's a little scary," said Edwards.

If the sheep can be safely captured, Edwards hopes to raise them at her animal sanctuary.

"If we do capture them, they would have a forever home here at Charlotte's. We would love to take them in and let them join our six sheep here," she said.

"So the hope is that they're caught and they can come and live out their lives here in freedom."

Photos of one of the sheep, posted to social media on Jun. 6 around 10:30 a.m., shows the animal in a grassy, fenced-off area near E.J. Lajeunesse.

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