Liam was at the hospital for weeks before he could come home. Slowly but surely, vets repaired the damage wrought on his body by a host of ailments and deprivations. Though young, this sheep has already known tremendous suffering from neglect. He could have lost his life to it. Now we are doing everything we can to give him that life back.
Liam was found alone on an abandoned and barren Schuyler County property, where the early arrival of winter conditions had killed off all the grass. Ferried to our New York Shelter by rescuers, he arrived in horrific shape. He was malnourished. His thick wool had gone unshorn for far too long. His horns were growing into his face, likely from a botched dehorning when he was younger. He was limping, either from a broken leg that had healed wrong or from an untreated case of septic arthritis. Most alarmingly, Liam’s urethra had burst, creating a hole in his body cavity.
During his time at Cornell University Hospital for Animals, Liam received blood transfusions from two other sheep. Because of his urethra trauma, he had to undergo urethrostomy to create a permanent opening in his urethra. The surgery carries a risk of complications, so we must monitor Liam closely now that he’s back at the shelter, along with administering daily pain management. In fact, Liam’s urethra condition will require regular monitoring for the rest of his life. Because the people who raised Liam denied him proper, basic care, and in the end denied him any care or sustenance at all, his body had been left permanently scarred.
Though Liam was raised on a small property, he has endured suffering akin to the suffering of any animal on a factory farm. In large, industrial facilities, neglect of animals’ basic needs is not an aberration but an operating principal. In addition to denying animals access to the outdoors and room to satisfy their longing for movement, privacy, social order, and stimulation, factory farm operators also decline to provide even basic healthcare. It is cheaper to cull animals or let them die than to pay for medication or treatment.
Liam almost became a casualty of the indifference to animal suffering that permeates all manner of enterprises that exploit animals for gain. Only through rare luck was he found, and saved, and brought to respite.
Though there are difficulties still ahead for Liam, there is also a good and bountiful life. He is a sweet boy, and although he arrived timid and untrusting, he is already seeking out attention from his human caregivers. He has also befriended a rooster named Bonaparte, who is his current roommate. Surely one of the worst hardships he has experienced is solitude, which for flock animals like sheep is especially upsetting. Now he has gentle human attention to comfort him and a rooster friend to sleep by, and once he has healed some more, he will become a member of our special-needs sheep flock; already, he clearly longs for this meeting and bahs daily to his soon-to-be flock mates. On the day that he joins them, he will have a family at last, and we doubt anything could dampen the joy of that homecoming.