South St. Paul asks for help from animal sanctuary to track down goat on the lam

If all goes well, a goat on the loose in South St. Paul could end up with a cozy new home.

South St. Paul police have reached out to Farmaste Animal Sanctuary and asked for help in capturing the animal, which has been seen on a hillside near the intersection of Concord Exchange and Camber Avenue for several months.

The wandering goat, like others that have come before it, has attracted a legion of fans who are not only looking out for the animal, but sharing pictures and tales of its hillside presence on social media.

But now the concern is that the white-furred goat, which most likely is an escapee from one of the two nearby livestock markets, could get struck by a motorist, police said.

“As of late, this goat (which to the best of our knowledge the community hasn’t yet named for some reason) has been getting more comfortable in our fine city and has been venturing closer to our roads in search of food, recreation or to take part in our vibrant night life as the weather warms,” Cmdr. Brian Wicke wrote Thursday in a post on the department’s Facebook page.

Wicke is urging the public to contact Farmaste at 651-400-0097 when they see it and “not the police department.”

“They are already on the case and have staff willing and able to swing down and give us a hand in corralling her/him and relocating to a life of rest and relaxation,” Wicke said of the Lindstrom, Minn., animal sanctuary.

THE PLIGHT OF OREO

South St. Paul is no stranger to escaped livestock, which occasionally would get away from the city’s now-closed stockyards.

And the end results haven’t always been good for the animals. In 2008, an officer downed a 1,895-pound bull after it made its way onto westbound Interstate 494 during the morning rush hour. In 2009, police downed at least three goats, including one that got stuck in a window well and another that residents had named “Brownie” and was shot on a neighborhood sidewalk.

Brownie’s killing disturbed residents, who criticized the move as unnecessary and dangerous. The outcry prompted a group of residents, along with a team of veterinarians, to organize a rescue of another goat, which they had named “Oreo,” before it met the same fate.

Doug Woog, the late Gophers hockey coach, and his wife, Janice, were among fans of Oreo, a black and white female Boer breed of goat that was given its own page on MySpace and Facebook. Janice regularly put out bananas for Oreo, which was on the loose for nearly three years.

“It’s funny, all ironic, to me, because the town that made its money killing livestock for 100 years in the stockyards is coming to the rescue to save this forlorn creature,” Doug Woog said in a 2009 Pioneer Press article. “It’s been fun.”

After a five-hour pursuit on an overcast February day in 2010, the wily goat was captured by the group of 20 volunteers who came armed with an eight-page ORP (Oreo Recovery Plan), two-way radios and a tranquilizer gun. Vet checks revealed Oreo was at least 6 years old. Unfortunately for its admirers, Oreo died at a hobby farm six months later.

A NEW LIFE AWAITS

The unnamed goat now roaming South St. Paul’s Concord Exchange area could join two other Farmaste goats that were on the lam in recent years. In all, the non-profit currently has 22 animals that had been abused, neglected, orphaned or injured.

In fall 2018, Inver Grove Heights police officers were able to safely snare a goat that was spotted in people’s backyards and even peering through patio doors. Police called Farmaste, which gave it a home and the name “Iggy.”

The following spring South St. Paul police called upon Farmaste to track down “Buffy,” a goat they were able to corral within 24 hours.

Kelly Tope, Farmaste’s founder, said Friday they looked for the unnamed goat the past two days — assessing the area and putting down food, water and straw. “I think with the rain, he was probably hunkering down somewhere, so we didn’t find him this morning,” she said.

The plan is to go back every day, she said, and the hope is it’s only a matter of time before the goat is caught. And when that happens, she said, the animal will be checked out by a University of Minnesota veterinarian, taken to its new home and given a name after suggestions from South St. Paul residents.

Mayor Jimmy Francis said he has heard name suggestions from several of them. If it turns out to be a buck, they’ve told him, it should be named either “Waldo” or after Tom Brady, who is referred to as the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time).

“The G.O.A.T. no … I don’t think that’s fair,” Francis said. “It’s not that old.”

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