Goat Lawnmowers Suffered Neglect

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010  |  Updated 1:15 PM PDT
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Goat Lawnmowers Suffered Neglect

Meredith Gregory

You had a milk a goat at this chase point.

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Oakland's animal services workers knew something had gone terribly wrong when they found dozens of dead and malnourished goats at the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital.

The animals belonged to Goats R Us, a company that provided brush-clearing services by letting the goats graze on overgrown lawns and hillsides. They employ quite a range of breeds, including Angora, Alpine, Spanish, Boer, Pygmy, La Mancha, and Nubian.

The two owners of the company were swiftly arrested, and the surviving animals given veterinary care. Their abuses ranged from dehydration and malnourishment to parasite infestation. Some had pneumonia. Some goats had been dead long enough to decompose, while others were recently deceased.

It's unclear how responsibility for the goats' welfare was shared by owner Egon Oyarzun and herder Wilfredo Felix. The company claimed that the animals were kept in good heath with regular medical and nutritional care. They've been in business for fifteen years, but this is the first time that any neglect has been uncovered.

In addition to goats, the company also raises border collies.

The owner and herder will both be tried for the neglect. Their arraignment is expected next week.

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