Family suspects dogs responsible for goat deaths

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Beatrice Gutierrez looks at her lone surviving goat Tuesday afternoon. Gutierrez said her family doesn’t know what killed the other five goats Saturday night.

Sharna Johnson

Shocked to find five goats dead in their pens Sunday morning with only one survivor left behind, Beatrice Gutierrez speculates the culprits were stray dogs.

Gutierrez said she and her family were devastated when the carnage was discovered in their back yard of their home on East Brady Avenue.

The goats have been family pets for years, and one female, “Baby,” had been with the family nine years.

Holes in the fences showed something went over the top of one pen and under another, she said, to get to the miniature goats.

Gutierrez said they had been ravaged, with bite marks and obvious trauma, but not eaten.

“I am really devastated. Those goats were our pets; that was our life,” she said.

Her children and grandchildren loved the goats and would play with them in the yard.

Gutierrez said when they would breed, the family would sell the offspring, usually the males, and keep the nicer females as pets.

No longer playful, the lone young female goat that remains is so traumatized by the incident she sits listless in her pen and barely responds to the familiar whistle from Gutierrez that used to bring her and the others running.

Neighbors have said there is a pack of dogs running the neighborhood, but Gutierrez said when her family drove around they saw no loose dogs and are left with no explanation.

Through the years, she said they have had chickens and ducks killed in the yard but the goats were never harmed.

“It’s weird to us,” she said.

“We’ve even had people steal them before and they’ve found their way home.”

Animal Control officer Dennis Weist said he picked up the bodies of the goats Monday and set dog traps on a street in Gutierrez’ neighborhood in the event there are strays.

The incident is the only one of its kind that has been reported, he said.

Weist said stray dogs rarely form packs and organize attacks, although sometimes owned animals from the same home will move in a pack because they know each other.

In the event owned animals are found to be responsible for the attack, Weist said the owner can be cited and fined. The Gutierrez family will also have the option of pursuing a civil case if they choose, he said.

And, “If they’re just stray dogs running around they’ll be euthanized if an owner isn’t found,” he said.

Weist said he has no evidence or any information that points to a suspect in the killings.