Shepherd reassigned due to neglectA shepherd at North Dakota State University has been reassigned after administrators witnessed “deplorable sanitary conditions” in the university’s sheep facilities.
By: Amy Dalrymple, The Forum, Worthington Daily Globe
A shepherd at North Dakota State University has been reassigned after administrators witnessed “deplorable sanitary conditions” in the university’s sheep facilities.
Wes Limesand, who has been at NDSU for more than 35 years, now works in the beef unit and no longer holds a supervisory position.
President Joseph Chapman and other administrators toured the sheep unit last summer after the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service observed poor conditions related to cleanliness and animal care.
Chapman wrote in a letter to two NDSU vice presidents that the mismanagement and neglect of the sheep flock put the reputation of the university’s agricultural programs at risk.
“We were all shocked and dismayed at the density of animals and the total lack of sanitary conditions existing at these facilities,” Chapman wrote.
The sheep facilities were among the deficiencies cited in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that prompted NDSU to pay a $12,218 fine.
Limesand declined to comment.
At least four people from the sheep industry who support Limesand wrote letters to Chapman asking him to reconsider the decision, according to documents obtained through an open records request.
Karey Claghorn, executive director of Associated Sheep Registries, wrote in a letter that Limesand is “one of the most respected and influential professionals in the entire sheep industry.”
David Buchanan, head of NDSU’s department of animal sciences, said the sheep facility on 19th Avenue North is old and presents challenges.
But the conditions observed by administrators related to everyday care, such as manure that was not removed in a timely manner and animals with health issues that were not attended to as quickly as possible, Buchanan said.
Chapman requested an in-depth evaluation of the sheep program and required that conditions be corrected by last August.
Limesand was reassigned effective this month to the beef unit, where he will assist the manager in caring for animals and maintaining the facilities.
Buchanan said Limesand will be under direct supervision, so officials are not concerned about his ability to work hard and take care of his assignments.
Limesand will continue receiving the same salary as before, which is $40,446.
Ken Grafton, dean of agriculture, said the 2006 USDA inspection did not relate to the decision to reassign Limesand.
That report mentioned sheep that were found suffering and dying unnoticed by personnel.
Since paying the USDA fine, NDSU made significant improvements and investments to correct the problems and was found to be in compliance with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.