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Official Seeks Halt to Killing of Sheep

The county’s top animal-regulation official has asked the National Park Service to ensure that no more sheep are killed on Santa Cruz Island.

Kathy Jenks, director of Ventura County’s Animal Regulation Department, on Thursday asked Channel Islands National Park Supt. Tim Setnicka to halt the slaughter on the eastern part of the island, which earlier this month became National Park Service property.

Dozens of sheep have been killed by riflemen for the Nature Conservancy, which owns land adjacent to the parkland. A Nature Conservancy spokeswoman has said the action was necessary to keep the sheep off the conservancy’s land. Nature Conservancy officials were not available for comment Thursday.

Setnicka was also unavailable for comment, but Jenks said he promised to call Nature Conservancy officials to request the moratorium. “Maybe that will do it,” she said. “That’s all we ask, that they stop the killing.”

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Jenks said in her letter, which was sent Thursday to Setnicka, that she had heard that another “killing party” was planned for today.

On Feb. 13, Jenks had received written permission from the Gherini family, which owned the land before it became federal property, to remove the sheep by nonlethal means. Several already have been adopted by families on the mainland. In Jenks’ letter to Setnicka, she also warned that some island visitors are removing the sheep without going through the adoption program.

She said there have been unconfirmed reports of people taking lambs from their mothers and bringing them ashore via commercial sightseeing boats.

“Please understand that neither this [department] nor the Animal Welfare Organizations working with us neither condone nor encourage such behavior,” Jenks wrote.

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