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Goat is enjoying three years of freedom (article)

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Posted by GoatWorld on March 21, 2002 at 11:36:36:

Pennsylvania News

Goat is enjoying three years of freedom


The Express-Times

U. NAZARETH TWP. - Itís not a scapegoat. Itís an escaped goat.

A lone goat has been roaming the East Lawn section of the township for the past three years, and while the animal is not a nuisance, some neighbors are wondering if the creature shouldnít be put in a better home.

East Lawn Road resident Vicki Osborn reported to police Thursday night that the goat, which her kids have nicknamed Zeus, showed up in her yard again.

The animal makes sporadic appearances and stays for a day or two at a time before wandering back to its home, which most folks believe is a Hercules Cement quarry just off Route 191.

Osborn and township police Cpl. Jeff Getz both said the animal was one of about 30 goats that escaped from a butcher shop in Bushkill Township about three years ago.

All but three of the goats were hunted down, and two of the survivors disappeared last year during hunting season.

"But for three years, this goat survived," Osborn said. "Now it has a death wish or something."

Osborn is concerned that the creature will dart across Route 191 some day and cause an accident. She has seen it race across the road, she said.

"Iíve talked to the police, and they could kill it, but they donít really want to do that," Osborn said. "It hasnít hurt anyone yet, but if it gets into an accident, it will."

But Osborn, a township supervisor, admits thereís a problem with relocating the feral goat.

"I donít even know who to call to find it a new home," she said.

A dispatcher with the Pennsylvania Game Commission on Friday said the commission wouldnít have any jurisdiction over a goat, even one that has returned to the wild.

The Wildlands Conservancy was equally stumped.

"Thatís a domesticated animal," said Wildlands Conservancy Office Manager Dotti Brett. "Theyíd have to find a farmer. Someone who has other goats would probably gladly take it."

Northampton County Cooperative Extension Agent Gregory Solt said a goat that has returned to the wild is nearly impossible to capture and is probably just as happy staying loose.

"After a goatís been out for awhile, it becomes pretty much as acclimated to the wild as a deer would be," Solt said. He pointed out that a feral goat lived on top of Jugtown Mountain in New Jersey for years without causing any trouble.

Catching the goat would also be expensive, he said.

If itís a male, it could be lured to a pen with a female goat in heat, but setting that up would take tremendous time and manpower. It also could be tranquilized, but that technology is expensive and most local farmers wouldnít have access to it.

"The cheapest thing for the township would be to put goat warning signs up," Solt said. "Itís quite a project to catch a single animal out there."

Getz agreed.

"I have tried to catch him. You canít get near him," he said.

Getz said the police have gotten some calls form people going up and down East Lawn Road who have seen the goat standing atop the quarryís embankment.

"Personally, I donít want to shoot it," he added. "The quarry doesnít make complaints about him being there, and heís not a bother. No more so than a deer."

He added that Osborn, who has been within a few feet of the animal, has gotten closer than anyone.

Osborn acknowledged that the animal has endeared itself to some people in the area.

"Itís kind of cool that itís lived this long, but it needs a new home," she said.

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