Neighbors on Richmond Drive just north of Interstate 64 and east of St. Clair Square can rest easy now that a mysterious lamb seen roaming around the neighborhood alone over the last few weeks is safe after it was taken into police custody earlier this week.
“We have been getting — believe it or not — 911 calls about this lamb,” Officer Ben Hester said. “But every time I got out there; it’s just like a ghost. Gone.”
That was until Wednesday. This time, when dispatchers sent Hester to the neighborhood on yet another call about the lamb, neighbors had it cornered in a fenced yard at the end of the street. The agitated lamb was trying to ram its way through the chain link fence.
Hester said he and another officer were then able to get the animal into an aluminum shed, but when the other officer tried to open the shed’s door, the door fell off and the lamb bolted.
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“I tackled it,” Hester said. One of the neighbors had some rope and fashioned a leash.
Hester then put the lamb in his squad car and returned to the police station. For the rest of Hester’s shift, the lamb stayed in a dog kennel in the officers’ report writing room that’s normally reserved for police dogs.
Once off duty — and after cleaning out the cage the lamb had made a mess of — Hester took it to his home in rural Madison County. Where the lamb came from remains a mystery.
“It was very timid, very scared, but it’s doing fine now,” he said.
The lamb is in good company. An older sheep named Winston, a llama named Lewis and two dozen chickens with names Hester said he can’t keep track of welcomed the lamb to its temporary home. Temporary, that is, unless no one calls to claim the lamb.
“If nobody claims it, I’m going to keep it,” Hester said.
And then there’s the dilemma of naming it. Still unsure of the lamb’s sex, Hester wants to wait until it gets settled into its new environment before he makes that inspection. If it turns out to be male, he’s still searching for a name. But if it’s female?
“I’m going to name it Clarice, for the ‘Silence of the Lambs’ movie,” he said.