Dec 1, 2010

Goat Grazing Company Accused of Neglect

GOATS IN THE GARDEN has POSTED about this story, which has seemingly made headlines in California.

From ABC7:

"A company that uses goats to keep grass under control on hillsides and empty lots is in serious trouble. The owner of Goats R Us has been arrested and charged with animal abuse after police found sick and dying goats on a piece of property where the old Oak Knoll Naval Hospital is located in the Oakland hills."

"Webb says about 60 goats were in the courtyard, all very hungry. 

"They had no food that we could locate; the food that they had eaten, the vegetation they had stripped the trees all the way to the point that they could reach," she said. "Most of the animals were sick with parasites, pneumonia, other diseases." 

Oakland Zoo curators were brought in to help with the animals. 

Deputy District Attorney Matt Gaidos says his office was affected by what they saw. 

"They were quite shocked at the level of the health of the goats and the conditions the goats were in," he said.  

Police arrested Egon Oyarzun, who owns the business with his wife. He was charged with animal abuse and neglect. He will be arraigned next week in Alameda County.

One of the company's herders was arrested as well"

Read more and see a video here: Man arrested after goats found dying, malnournished

I am personally OUTRAGED.  Any kind of animal, whether it be domestic, livestock or wild, does NOT deserve to live and die like that.  Goats are one of my favourite animals, and when The Man and I buy a house with property, I plan on having some goats.  I am researching and learning about goats and their care from goat blogs such as GOATS IN THE GARDEN, THE MAAAAA OF PRISCILLA, IN A GOAT'S SHOES, and MANY MORE.

What this news story sounds like is that the man and his wife thought this would be a great business idea (which it is), but have NO experience with goats, or if they have had experience with goats, they don't know how to handle a large herd (1000) in multiple locations.

I know that FEATHERSTONE WINERY has a flock of sheep that eat the leaves  from the grape vines for optimal sunlight exposure to the grapes.  You can read more about this practice HERE.  I've heard other wineries are going to go this way as well (around the Niagara wine region, anyways), as it's ecologically sound.  Their success shows it can work, but again--they don't have sheep in multiple locations, and hire people who know how to care for the sheep, as well as take good care of them.

I believe that goats working as keeping brush down or weeds under control is a wonderful ecologically friendly idea.  But if one is planning on doing this, they MUST know how to look after a goat!  HERE is a great article by Gary Pfalzbot from GOATWORLD.COM.   This article covers a lot of issues about renting goats, and how to get goats (and land) ready for goats to control weeding.  Perhaps the people who own GOATS R US should have read that article before deciding on creating their company.


Jennifer said...

Thanks for the link. I just read another article about this case that said they have several thousand goats. So could be more than 1,000, either way that is a lot of goats to care for and a lot of hired help to check up on. Apparently they were not doing much checking on their hired help, no excuse in my book.

Loved the link about the sheep, how interesting! I have never heard of using sheep in this way before but then again I don't know much about growing grapes either. Very neat information.

sophiadawn said...

This is a real shame. I love my goaties. They are great for keeping down broadleaf weeds around the farm. I am now feeding them grain and hay for the rest of winter. Weeds are gone but the goats are fat.

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