ORANGE — A sheep found running around a city block two weeks ago has been nursed back to health at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River.

The male, a ram, had balloons on strings tied to its tail and ear tag. A swath of wool had also been sheared off its back to expose its skin, and its eye had been cut, causing it to become temporarily blind, according to Rudy Giordano, the city of Orange's animal control officer. Giordano captured the sheep and arranged to get it to Popcorn Park Zoo.

Neighbors told Giordano that the sheep may have been purchased for a sacrificial ritual and managed to escape.

The staff at the Ocean County facility named the sheep "Rudy" after the animal control officer and went to work nursing it back to health. After Rudy ate grains and Timothy hay nonstop for about a half hour upon his arrival, the staff was able to restore his sight and clean his wounds.

Rudy had a good attitude about his treatment, and two members of the staff who worked on him quickly became emotionally attached.

"Rudy" a week after he arrived at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River
"Rudy" a week after he arrived at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River (Popcorn Park Animal Refuge)

Rudy will soon become a permanent resident of the Ocean County facility and will join the general population once his quarantine period is over.

Giordano did not immediately return a message.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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