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By Mike Melanson, Enterprise correspondent EASTON - A sheep was stolen, sprayed with black paint, dressed in a bra and left inside a Stonehill College dormitory, authorities said.

Stonehill students or guests are believed to be responsible for the animal abuse, based on a similar case on campus last year and the college access that was needed to carry it out, Easton police said.

The sheep and a chicken were stolen from the Sheep Pasture, an educational facility near the college run by the Natural Resources Trust of Easton.

"We're a little disappointed one of our neighbors would think this is something funny to do," said Robert Babineau, executive director of Natural Resources Trust.

If Stonehill students are found responsible, they could be dismissed from the college, according to a statement released by Stonehill.

"This type of behavior is not consistent with the college's values nor does it represent the overwhelming number of compassionate students who make up our community," David DiNapoli, chief of campus police, said in the statement.

Stonehill is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the apprehension of those responsible for the incident, which took place last Saturday, campus and Easton police said.

The Sheep Pasture is across the road from the college campus at Main and Washington streets.

"I'm disappointed that someone who presumably has the educational background and given the opportunity to attend a prestigious college like Stonehill College, that someone with that potential would do something like this. It goes way beyond a college prank," said Babineau.

The sheep and the chicken were found abandoned in a dormitory on campus, he said.

Stonehill campus police corralled the animals and returned them Sunday morning.

Babineau said Friday the sheep was in good physical condition but had become terrified of people. He said staff at Natural Resources Trust had cleaned the sheep of much of the spray-paint, but the ordeal could have killed the fragile ewe.

"The chicken seems fine. The sheep is naturally very skittish," Babineau said.

This is the second such incident at Stonehill. A sheep was stolen from the Sheep Pasture last year and endured a similar ordeal, minus the spray-paint, and has not been friendly with humans since, Babineau said.

Children visiting the Sheep Pasture like to pet the sheep. "It definitely has had a negative effect on our educational program," he said.

If caught, the perpetrators could face trespassing, larceny and animal cruelty charges, Easton police said. Officer Beverly McRoberts is working with campus police on the investigation.

Martin McGovern, director of media relations at Stonehill, said the college has offered an apology to Natural Resources Trust. He said campus police and the office of student affairs are investigating the incident.

A number of campus police officers and members of the Stonehill College community donated money for the reward, he said.

"That's a reflection of the seriousness with which we're treating this," McGovern said in a telephone interview. "We encourage anyone with any information to come forward and share that information with campus police."

Babineau praised the college for its efforts to apprehend the perpetrators.

Information can be reported by calling Stonehill police at 508-565-1206, or online at

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