South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Tom Smith
South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor 

All kidding aside, police looking for teens who assaulted goats in S.S. Park


August 15, 2017

Hundreds of people climbed the trails of South Side Park to see the goats during Goat Fest. Last week, six teenage boys also followed those trails where they tried to ride Hobo, a minature donkey protector of the goats, before pelting him with rocks.

Goat Fest, a celebration of Allegheny GoatScape's hard working goats eating their way through invasive species and vines in South Side Park's "Jurassic Valley" drew 1,000 goat loving people to the park in early July. Unfortunately, six teens came to the park last week will malice in mind.

On the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 9, six young men from 15 to 17 years old, climbed over the fences confining the goats and attempted to ride Hobo, the miniature donkey protector of the goats.

Gavin Deming, executive director of Allegheny GoatScape, said the teens had to find their way over two fences: a "construction fence" that limits the area the goats work in and a low-wattage electric fence. The fences act to keep the goats in and unauthorized people out.

Mr. Deming said when the teens were leaving after their unsuccessful attempt to ride Hobo, they threw rocks at the donkey and a large white goat named Wimpy. Neither Hobo, nor Wimpy or the other goats appear to be injured and seem to be safe he said several days after the incident.

Last Wednesday volunteers had just reported in by text at 7:45 p.m. that the small herd of goats was fine. About 15 minutes later, a neighbor saw the teens assaulting the goats and called Mr. Deming and the police.

The young men attacking the goats and Hobo were described as two white and four African American. One African American boy was wearing blue jean shorts and a white t-shirt. A white boy with shorts and blue jersey with white lettering is described as the primary suspect who was witnessed assaulting the animals.

Mr. Deming said the support by the neighborhood had been overwhelming positive. A group of seven volunteers are even authorized to go inside the fences to water and tend to the goats.

The goats have about another week in the park, where they had hoped to clear nearly 10 acres of the invasive plants and vines. Mr. Deming said at this point they won't quite get as much area cleared as they had hoped due to downed trees and inaccessible terrain.

If the goats came to a fallen tree they couldn't get past or the vines were too big, they wouldn't eat any further, Mr. Deming explained. However, they have cleared enough so that people will be able to get into the area and cut down the vines easier.

This is the second time in as many weeks there has been an incident involving the goats in South Side Park. In early August, a 30 to 40-year-old thin white man with gray and black hair, 5 feet 10 inches tall, wearing a black T-shirt and gray gym shorts damaged the fences and stole equipment used to power the low-wattage electric fence.

Mr. Deming said saw the man who fled using one of the trails in the park.

The vandalism and assault on the goats is unusual, Mr. Deming said noting they don't usually work in such public places.

Zone 3 police aren't able to provide 24-hour security for the goats but have directed patrols to the area.

Anyone having information about either of the incidents is asked to call 911 or the Zone 3 station at 412-488-8326.


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