36 sheep died from infection, not dehydration

David Etzel, left, and Tim Cayton give antibiotics to about 300 sheep on their farm in Turner, July 2, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
David Etzel, left, and Tim Cayton give antibiotics to about 300 sheep on their farm in Turner, July 2, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

TURNER, Ore. (KOIN) — The three dozen sheep who died suddenly on a Turner farm died from an infection, not dehydration from the heat wave or malnourishment.

That’s the result of the necropsies done by Oregon State University on the sheep from the Etzel Farm.

Owner David Etzel said the tests prove he did nothing wrong.

“OSU said that it’s probably not the heat that’s causing it, that it’s more of an infection,” he told KOIN 6 News.

As many as 40 sheep were found dead at a field in Turner. A cause of death has not been determined, July 1, 2013 (Courtesy: Marion County Sheriff's Office)

As many as 40 sheep were found dead at a field in Turner on July 1, 2013. (Courtesy: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

The 36 sheep died in the last few days and since Sunday they’ve moved the sheep to a different field, changed their food and began the process of giving the surviving 350 sheep antibiotics.

The entire herd will get shots and oral medication to kill any bacteria in their stomachs before they can head out to their new pasture.

Some of the 300 sheep on the Etzel Farm in Turner, July 2, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

Some of the 300 sheep on the Etzel Farm in Turner, July 2, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

The Etzel family usually sells the sheep for meat production at $100 a head during the summer months. They’ve been raising sheep on a 200-acre property near Turner since the 1950s.

Neighbors initially called Marion County deputies because they said the sheep didn’t have enough shade or water. But the necropsy showed they had plenty of fluid in their system when they died.

The district attorney’s office is investigating to determine if the Etzels should have neglect charges.

“We’re trying to get information as quick as possible so we can see if it’s something we’ve done or something out in the field,” Etzel said. “We can correct it as soon as possible.”

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