Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Hard Part

I went into town today for a few reasons.

I took my two big wethers to the sale barn. It's the most unpleasant part of what I have to do as a responsible goatkeeper. The truth is, I have to do this, because if I didn't, the rest of the herd would suffer. I can only keep so much stock on my property with my budget. There are many months, and this is one of them, when I do without for myself so my animals can eat.

Yesterday I watched my big Togg wether who I've had for so long...who I've kept for purely sentimental reasons...push poor skinny Freaky Didi away from the alfalfa. Freaky is going to be a lovely doe if I can just get some weight on her. She will produce beautiful purebred Nubian kids and give me milk with a 4 to 5 percent milkfat. Winky does nothing but eat and laze about in the pasture and lord his great size over the other goats. He's done this for five years here.

So, today I loaded up Winkin' and Bolly and took them to the sale barn. I did this because I don't want to be remotely associated with assholes like this cruel fuck.

Sheep Hoarder charged with animal cruelty

POSTED: 2:40 a.m. EDT, March 29, 2007

APEX, North Carolina (AP) -- A man who kept 77 sheep in his suburban home was charged Wednesday with 30 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

David Watts, 47, was being held at the Wake County jail in lieu of $12,000 bail after a court appearance. A judge denied a request by Watts' lawyer to release him pending trial.

Watts surrendered the flock to animal control officers Monday after police found some sheep grazing on artificial flowers in the town cemetery in Apex, a suburb of Raleigh.

Thirty of the sheep were euthanized because of various health problems. In addition, sheep bones and carcasses were found in Watts' yard.

Veterinarian Kelli Ferris, who examined the flock, said some of the animals' hooves had never been trimmed, causing infections that led the sheep to walk on their knees.

Watts kept some of the younger sheep on the ground floor of his house and kept the others in pens in the yard, authorities said.

Watts denies abusing the animals. He told The News & Observer of Raleigh on Tuesday that he was overwhelmed by the number of lambs born this year.

Watts, who said he has raised sheep for a decade, called the animals "relaxing to be around."

"It's like in Florida, you can swim with the dolphins. If you can get sheep to follow you, it might be a similar experience."

A high school in western North Carolina adopted 13 lambs. The lambs will live on the school farm, where students will care for them. It was unclear where the rest of the sheep went.

I don't know where my boys went. It broke my heart to leave them there. But I know they lived a pampered healthy life while they were here with me. But I had to let them go for the good of the rest of the herd. Am I playing God? I guess I am. But isn't that what we do when we, as humans, raise an animal solely for our own pleasure, comfort or food? As the gods of these souls we have to make the hard decisions. If we don't, we become some unspeakable something else.

My other task in town was a much better one. I went into the Newport Animal Shelter to give Flash a groom and bath in preparation for his trip to Charlotte where I had coordinated placement for him with A.R.F. Flash is a cocker youngster who got returned from his first shelter placement for objecting to a toddler pulling his ears.

As I clippered back the mop of hair on his little head, I half gasped at the lovely shape of his head. It was so much like my Hi-Lite's. The cocker spaniel who really was my first rescue...the one who drew me into this crazy mess. I haven't had another buff since.

I so wanted to take Flash home with me, then and there. And when he bussed me on the nose to forgive me for trying to scissor his paws, my heart gave a lurch. There was much of Hi-Lite in this pup.

But I bundled him up after his bath and placed him in his nice clean cage. Tomorrow he travels to Charlotte and hopefully soon, a wonderful forever home.

Why? Because that's what I'm committed to doing. The hard part.


  1. Betsy aka 'the goat yoda' said...
    That's what I have been doing today- trimming goat feet. And sitting out by the doe and buck pens, knowing that I have to sell some goats- some, most likely the boys, will go straight to the sale barn. the does are harder and I hate to see the look in their eyes when they see me evaluating them.

    J-Lo, the big Boer cross doe, came up to me and wanted to talk a bit- I've got her up for sale and she doesn't want to go...maybe the moving around part to other pens will put all of Dorie's goats in one area, so she can stay after all......

    They talk to us- if only we would listen.....

    Check out my new SCA blog- we are doing an 'archeological study of the farm and it looks like the place is at least 500 yrs. old
    :-). Or maybe almost 20......
    bluemountainmama said...
    sorry about your 2 goats...from the short time i've been reading your blog, i've seen how much you care for each of them....

    i know fron growing up on a farm....except it was cows and pigs that i got attached to from bottle-feeding...and they were going to their "doom", as i called it. my parents always tried to comfort me by saying it would pay for our summer vacation.....

    i've heard of animal hoarders like that guy....apparently its like a compulsion. one was discovered in our town after her apartment caught on fire. apparently she had something like 60 or 70 cats and most burned in the was crazy and sad....
    chris said...
    Rosie, what kind of music does Simone like to listen to? Also, what did you mean she lost her scuba tanks in the move east? East to where?
    Manerva said...
    So sorry to hear about people like that. I think anyone who mistreats and animal should be tied up in a sand pit and have the same treatment done to them. I guess I'm mean when it comes to animals!
    erin ambrose said...
    i'm crap at the hard stuff...but its been on my mind because i've only got a couple acres of pasture and you'd be amazed at how quickly 5 little mouths can consume i wonder, do i let the llamas go? but they guard the land and deposit their poo-gold in a neat pile....or should the sheep go? but they follow me so nicely and give me wool. as it is now i can't get milk somethings got to change...sigh.I daydream of buying up my neighbors vacant , lush land....after i win the lottery ofcourse.

    thats a sad sheep story you posted...i've heard of abused donkeys having hooves so over grown they cant stand up but never sheep.
    Rosie said...
    Hey Betsy, yes, the does are harder. I'm nervously watching Rose, the runt of Blinky's "litter". I may be forced to pet her out if she doesn't start to catch up in size with everyone else. She will take a bottle so I may bring her in or try to train her on strange udder like Vi-vi and Blanche. See if a bit of extra groceries will spur her growth. Loved the SCA post.

    Yes, BBM, animal hoarders are to us in the animal welfare set what pedophiles are to child welfare. Yes, it is a mental illness and compulsion, with the offenders all believing they are in some way operating in the individual's best interest, but it does a great deal of harm and is apparently uncurable.

    Chris, Simone likes classical and opera "pop" like Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli...she's pretty eclectic actually. She lost her tanks when she moved east from LA after having lived in Jakarta.

    Hey Erin, You probably won't have to act on the "hard part" until you start having babies pop up. All of your animals are get wool from the llamas too, don't you? Once we get your website up and you start selling your yarns, I think they'll be able to earn their keep. If you want a milk goat, consider leasing a milker from one of your goat friends...then all you have to do is return her for breeding season. Betsy calls it "goat shares."
    Karen said...
    I keep trying to post and they get swallowed up--I'm trying again.

    The spoonbread looks amazing--I'm going to try making it this week. If it tastes half as good as it looks--WOW!

    I'm sorry you had to sell some of the boys. I went through some of that 'hard stuff' the other day when we disbudded the two little boys. I should have done it right away, but hesitated because it seemed mean--and it was a much worse experience for Gryphon than it would have been had I done it earlier.

    I'm thinking of looking for a home for Bill, the Angora buck. People gave him to us for free, never emphasizing the smell/aggression/horn size of an un-neutered male--not to mention the difficulty of shearing him... Someone up at the school has lots of room and other goats/sheep. We'll see.

    Love your pictures from today--those floppy ears are irresistible!

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