While owner at conference, 'Chops' gunned down at Ferndale High

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Ferndale High School Future Farmers of America sophomore Molly Reid spent her weekend out of the area at an FFA leadership conference. Little did she know that back at home, someone was chasing, trapping, and then executing her lamb, "Chops."

According to the Ferndale Police Department, on Saturday at approximately 9:15 a.m., Ferndale police responded to a report of a dead lamb in a pasture behind the high school, finding that it had been killed by a gunshot to the head. Police estimate the killing took place between 7 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The incident remains under investigation.

Molly said she was heartbroken.

"I have had him since February," she said. "I would go every morning before class at around 8 a.m. to feed him and then again at 5 p.m. and then take him for a walk. My friends would often tell me he talked a lot, but no one would want to hurt him. My friends loved him and would come with me to feed him in the morning."

Robert Reid, who traveled from his home to the school to care for his daughter's lamb while she was out of town, found the dead lamb at around 8 a.m.

"When my husband arrived the gate was open and there was a chair inside to block the exit," Bobbi Reid, Molly's mother, said. "We think it had to have happen around 5 or 6 a.m. because the sheep was still warm and had not bled out. He was the sweetest sheep. He was so playful and such a good pet. Molly had sold him to the Ferndale High Ag Teacher's Brother in Law and was putting in care until he weighed more."

In Molly's first year of FFA raising a sheep for the Humboldt County Fair, Chops did not make weight so she brought him home and was raising him for the next 60 days per FFA guidelines until he gained more weight at which time she could sell him privately. Chops and Molly were about 30 days into their plan when the lamb was killed.

"My daughter is the Chapter Historian for the Ferndale FFA. ... She is also a cheerleader for football and had to miss the milk can game," Bobbi Reid said. "This is her first year raising an animal."

Molly was due to return to the high school with her classmates on Sunday. Her boyfriend was picking her up and together they were going to head out to see Chops and give him his dinner and nightly walk. The boyfriend was able to get to Molly before she entered the area where Chops had been slain and break the news to her about her beloved sheep.

Many are asking who would do this and why.

"I have no idea who did this or why they would want to," Molly said. "They were still able to use him when they found him because he was still warm and had not bled out yet. He is being donated by the buyer for our annual lamb barbecue, which was his original intention."

Molly's loss of Chops is compounded by the recent loss of her cat due to tumors. Molly had to make the hard choice to put her cat down.

"I am trying to deal with the loss of my cat and now with this on top of it," she said. "This is all very hard. The community has all been very supportive and helpful trying to figure out who did this. As well they are there for me helping me deal with it."

The Reids' cousin, Sandi Flowers, has offered up a $100 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.

"This is such a disgusting crime," Flowers said.

Molly said she wanted the person or persons to know about what they had done.

"Why would you do this?" she said. "What in your mind would make you want to do this? Everyone knew this was my lamb and that I am in FFA. I think it was really very cruel and I don't know why you would want to shoot my lamb."

Molly says she will get another lamb next year, but she will not keep it on the school grounds.

The Ferndale Police Department asks that anyone with information regarding this case contact Officer Williams at 786-4025.

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Molly Reid says she loved her lamb "Chops" and had spent the last seven months pampering him daily before he was shot dead by an unknown assailant. Ferndale police are investigating.